The Royal College of Nursing’s (RCN) chief executive and general secretary Pat Cullen will remain in post until the end of 2024, it has been announced.
In a blog post to members published today, Ms Cullen said she was ‘proud and fortunate’ to have accepted an extension of her current contract which had been due to end this December.
Ms Cullen recognised the ‘incredibly busy and professionally challenging couple of years’ she had endured, notably through leading historic strike action of NHS nurses and in ‘navigating internal issues’ related to the culture and governance of the college.
Though she added it had ‘also been exhilarating and humbling’ to serve her members.
Recruitment for a new permanent general secretary and chief executive at the RCN will begin next year.
During her update to members, Ms Cullen recognised the concerns of nurses about upcoming winter pressures and the impact of emerging variants of Covid-19.
And she also pointed to the shocking news surrounding the murders and attempted murders of babies at the Countess of Chester Hospital by Lucy Letby, who was given a full life sentence this week.
‘Like all of you, I have been shocked and deeply saddened by the Lucy Letby case and hearing the harrowing reports of what happened,’ said Ms Cullen.
‘The families have suffered unbelievable losses because of this person’s actions and the failure of the system to pick up and act on it sooner.
‘Our profession, everybody in health care and those associated with it will learn the very grave lessons this case teaches us.
‘With our legal teams, we will stay abreast of developments and participate in any way required at the inquiry that results from it.’
And she pointed members to support offered by the RCN and to its guidance on safely raising concerns at work.