Royal College of Nursing scraps annual conference over sexual harassment claims

28 August 2021, 18:52

The Royal College of Nursing said it has had serious allegations of sexual harassment.
The Royal College of Nursing said it has had serious allegations of sexual harassment. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

The Royal College of Nursing has cancelled its annual in-person conference in Liverpool following "serious allegations of sexual harassment".

The union, which represents some 465,000 health workers, said that after "independent legal advice", the elected members of its council had decided to move this year's meeting to a fully virtual event.

The three-day Congress was due to start in Liverpool on September 18.

The RCN said that as a "matter of urgency" a full review of all safeguarding policies and procedures is taking place.

It did not provide details of the allegations, but said it took a "zero tolerance approach" at all times.

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Carol Popplestone, chair of the RCN Council, said they have "acted fast" and took a decision that protects all attendees.

She said: "We know that many members planning to attend were looking forward to seeing each other in person for the first time in two years.

"But this decision was made with members' safety at the top of our minds. That is what we are here to safeguard at all costs.

"I am absolutely determined that Congress will still be its usual fascinating mix of debates, events and speeches.

"Getting together virtually won't stand in the way of that."

The RCN said further logistical details for those who had booked to attend in person will be made available early next week.

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