‘Powerful duo’ elected to lead RCN council after no-confidence vote

Sue Warner and Richard Jones, who between them have eight decades of nursing experience, have been selected as chair and vice chair respectively.

“Sue Warner and Richard Jones will be a powerful duo to lead our organisation”

Donna Kinnair 

The results of a separate election for 12 other council members were announced in December 2018.

The overhaul comes after the majority of the RCN council was forced to stand down when members passed a vote of no-confidence in their leadership in September last year. 

As previously reported by Nursing Times, the row erupted because some members claimed they had been misled over the 2018 NHS pay deal when they received much less in their pay packets than they were expecting.

The furore led to a wider debate over the viability of the RCN’s current governance structures. Campaigners said the college needed to become more member-led and transparent.

Ms Warner successfully fought for and retained her West Midlands seat on the council in the earlier election at the end of 2018, while Mr Jones’s Wales seat was uncontested. 

The position of chair was formerly held by Maria Trewern.

Sue Warner

Sue Warner

Source: Royal College of Nursing

Sue Warner

Mr Jones has been re-elected as vice chair having been originally appointed in January 2018.

Dame Donna Kinnair, acting chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said the pair would help the college to “reconnect” with its members.

“Sue Warner and Richard Jones will be a powerful duo to lead our organisation as it reconnects with members and fights vitally important campaigns across the UK,” Dame Donna said.

“Sue and Richard, along with all other council members, will give their considerable skill and energy to the roles,” she said.

“They have the confidence of members at every level and the support of staff to provide strong governance for the RCN,” said Dame Donna.

She added that with the elections now complete, the college could “face outward to all members, the public and politicians” and push ahead with campaigning for fairer conditions and safer staffing levels.

Ms Warner has been a nurse and manager in the NHS for nearly 40 years, working in orthopaedics, gynaecology and paediatrics. She has also been a district nurse and a health visitor.

First joining the RCN as a student nurse, Ms Warner has been involved with her local branch since 2001. She said she was “honoured” to be elected to chair of council.

“The RCN is the leading organisation for nurses and nursing, with a great history,” said Ms Warner. “Our new council will build on that, reconnecting with members and fighting to improve conditions for nursing staff so that they can provide safe and effective care to patients, wherever they work.

“The year ahead is a challenging one, but we will work together to deliver on these aims for members,” she added.

Richard Jones

Richard Jones

Source: Royal College of Nursing

Richard Jones

Mr Jones has more than 40 years’ experience in nursing and nursing education and has served as the RCN council member for Wales since 2016.

He said he was “delighted” to be re-elected as vice chair.

“It’s an honour to continue in the role and I’m looking forward to working with our new chair and council, alongside our new president and deputy president, to make sure we listen to members and that the college goes from strength to strength,” Mr Jones added.