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Scrapping DH nursing unit 'shows nursing does not matter to government'

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Mental health nurse Ed Freshwater proposed debate Mental health nurse Ed Freshwater proposed the debate

Nurses voted unanimously for the RCN to work with the Department of Health to retain its nursing voice in light of the scrapping of its official unit.

Following the debate, the RCN is writing to health secretary Jeremy Hunt seeking an urgent meeting to discuss these plans.

In the emergency item put forward by mental health nurse Ed Freshwater he stated that 'the government intends to sideline the voice of nursing with the closure of the nursing policy unit... surely it is desirable to have experienced, qualified, independent and dedicated experts to guide ministers and argue when necessary'.

The resolution was seconded by independent public health nurse Heather Henry who said that with the retention of the chief medical officer and the chief social worker but the removal of representatives from nursing, midwifery, mental health and the allied health professionals sends a message that nursing does not matter to the government.

Speakers all spoke in favour of the motion with many saying that the nursing profession cannot be supported without a professional voice within the department.

Dionne Daniel, from the inner North East London Branch, said that it was ironic that the nursing, midwifery and AHP unit was scrapped at the same time that the new nursing vision, Leading Change, Adding Value was released.

RCN Members stood up as the vote was being counted to show their backing for the vote. The vote was unanimous in favour of the motion.

A petition has been set up by Deborah Glover MBE, an independent nurse and medical editor to keep the nursing directorate in the Department of Health.

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