The Royal College of Nursing has given the second wave of Covid-19 as the reason for postponing its Extraordinary General Meeting to review the presidency and governance of the union.
Some members were overworked because of the second wave of the pandemic and would not have time to attend the online meeting next Friday, the RCN told Nursing in Practice. The RCN Council voted to adjourn the EGM last week (12 November).
RCN chair of Council Dave Dawes said: ‘Council believes that holding a General Meeting at this time, under the pressures of a second Covid-19 surge, would not allow for full and meaningful member participation.’
The meeting was arranged after a petition with the required 1,000 signatures was submitted to the RCN in September regarding the current presidential election process.
Signatories were unhappy that the RCN had paused the election process and two presidential candidates, former chair of congress Stuart McKenzie and incumbent Professor Anne Marie Rafferty disqualified from running.
Members were going to be given the chance to vote on two resolutions at the EGM. One was to allow the two-year term of office for the RCN president and deputy president to be extended for up to six month in exceptional circumstances. The second was for a comprehensive review of the governance of the college to be carried out.
The term of office of the current president Professor Rafferty is due to end on 1 January next year, and at present, no arrangements have been made for a new election. Mr Dawes stated: ‘Council recognises the concerns expressed by the 1,000 members who signed the petition for an emergency meeting and want everyone to be assured that we will reconvene.’
He continued: ‘Right now, we recognise that nursing staff are on the frontline of a global and generational crisis. As your council, we have been elected to provide leadership, continuity, and – above all –to support the 450,000 members working in increasingly challenging situations.’
The RCN confirmed the meeting would go ahead when enough members are available to attend, but as yet no date has been set. The RCN was unable to clarify whether the current president will remain in the post between 1 January and until the new EGM.