'Political naivety' of nurses barracking health secretary condemned

Nurses were accused of being 'politically naïve' when they slow hand-clapped then health secretary Patricia Hewitt off the stage at the Royal College of Nursing conference two years ago.

Patricia Hewitt
Patricia Hewitt

Peter Carter, the RCN’s new chief executive and general secretary, told the Nurse Practitioner Association conference in Liverpool on Friday that the barracking resulted in the DoH shutting doors to the RCN.

He said: ‘Nurses were saying ‘we really showed her’ but all that happened was, surprise surprise, the DoH slammed the door in the face of the RCN.

‘Suddenly, we were not on working groups and weren’t being consulted. You might get a short-term buzz from derailing the secretary of state but it just took things backwards.’

Mr Carter said that what should have happened was that Ms Hewitt would give her speech and then be subjected to 15 minutes of tough questions.

‘It was a very low point in the RCN’s history and frankly should not have been allowed to happen,’ added Mr Carter.


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