'That's two massive own goals': Nick Ferrari presses RCN chief on strikes u-turn

3 May 2023, 10:25 | Updated: 3 May 2023, 10:48

Nick Ferrari presses RCN's Pat Cullen on potential U-turn over deal

By Georgina Greer

Nick Ferrari challenged Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Chief Executive Pat Cullen on why she may u-turn on a pay-offer recommendation and her involvement in "unlawful" strikes.

Nick Ferrari spoke to the RCN's Pat Cullen, who originally recommended nursing union members accept the pay offer from the government.

The RCN has since rejected the offer, despite the majority of other unions voting to accept.

The conversation comes as an NHS Staff Council meeting on Tuesday confirmed that with the majority support, the pay offer will be implemented for NHS staff in England, while the RCN remains in dispute with the government.

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When pressed by Nick on her potential recommendation u-turn, Ms Cullen said: "Our members have spoken loud and clear..."

Nick interrupted exclaiming: "But you made a deal Pat!"

To which she responded: "We recommended that our members considered the best deal that we were able to get from this government...I brought it to our ruling council and they very carefully considered it."

She went on to note that "a number of elements of that deal....were actually quite attractive to our members", naming the safe nurse staffing policy framework as an example, which ensures that staff-patient ratios work to provide quality care.

She continued: "However, our nurses have said..that there is not enough money on the table and it will not fix the problems in the NHS which are around recruitment and retention."

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Nick challenged Ms Cullen again: "Don't take this personally, you recommend the deal and the RCN rejected it...you were also involved in scheduling strike dates which turned out to be unlawful...why should the union have any respect for you after all these miscalculations?"

Amid Ms Cullen's answer, he interrupted: "Answer the question if you would Pat, that's two massive own goals."

She responded: "I think I'm known for being a straight talker so the people that I believe in and that will decide whether they have confidence in me are the three hundred thousand nurses that I represent."

Ms Cullen continued: "They've said loud and clear that they wish to continue on with the industrial action until they get a better pay offer on the table."

She concluded: "I will continue to lead them the best I can and with every bone in my body until they get a better deal because they deserve it."

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