Nurses at the Royal College of Nursing's annual congress voted overwhelmingly against health minister Andrew Lansley and his proposed reforms after an emergency debate yesterday.

Nurses overwhelmingly passed the vote of "no confidence", with a 98.8% majority (478 people), after Lansley's decision not to address all 4,000 delegates but instead to speak to just 60 nurses. Only six people voted against the motion and 13 abstained.

The delegates, who included community nurses and practitioner nurses, have been concerned about many of the changes put forward by Lansley, including handing control of commissioning services to GPs. Additionally, the government's Health and Social Care Bill made only one reference to nursing, leaving many to question just how valued nurses are.

Royal College of Nursing Chief Executive & General Secretary Dr Peter Carter said:

"The outcome of this motion is a reflection of many members' passionate and honestly held concerns that the proposed reforms could destabilise the NHS.  It is vital that the Government now listens and engages with the Royal College of Nursing and our members.

"Nurses need to have a pivotal role within the new NHS structures and we call on the Government to listen to what our members have been expressing this week. At the heart of these concerns are the interests of patient care.

"We want to work with the Government to ensure that the NHS develops and moves forward in a way that we and patients would wish. We look forward to Mr Lansley's visit to Liverpool this afternoon where nurses will have the opportunity to highlight their concerns."

Posted by Robert Mair on 14.4.11 Comment on this article by sending it to: penny.hosie@pavpub.com