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A new chair and vice chair of the Royal College of Nursing’s ruling council have been elected, it has been announced.
The RCN has confirmed that Dave Dawes, chair of the RCN North West board, has been appointed as the new chair of council.
“The RCN works best when it listens to and speaks for all our members”
Meanwhile, Carol Popplestone, who previously served as chair of the RCN Yorkshire and the Humber board, has been named as the new vice chair.
The pair were elected to the roles by their colleagues on the council.
Their terms of office begin immediately and will conclude at the end of 2021.
The appointments follow the resignation last month of former chair Dee Sissons amid backlash over the RCN’s decision to suspend its presidential election and disqualify two candidates for allegedly breaking campaign rules.
Meanwhile, Richard Jones, vice chair of RCN Council, also stepped down soon after Ms Sissons, but for health reasons.
The election for president has now been halted and will be started afresh following the withdrawal of the remaining two candidates this week and amid a petition from more than 1,000 members for an emergency general meeting.
Mr Dawes, who has more than 25 years’ experience in hospital and community care in both the NHS and the independent sector, said he was “confident” he could “help steer the organisation through the immediate challenges it faces”.
“The RCN works best when it listens to and speaks for all our members and I will be starting that direct dialogue straightaway,” he added.
On his appointment as chair, he said his four key priorities would be to create a cohesive team on RCN Council, rebuild trust between RCN Council and the executive directors, rebuild trust between RCN members and the executive directors, and re-establishing the authority of RCN Council in the eyes of the membership.
Mr Dawes has sat on RCN Council eight separate occasions over four different decades, first serving as a nursing student almost 30 years ago.
He has also served as a forum chair, branch officer and RCN Congress agenda committee member.
Most recently he has been the honorary treasurer of RCN Council.
“I’m committed to listening, learning and responding to what members tell us”
In addition, Mr Dawes holds the role of commercial director for Future Care Capital – a charity which focuses on the challenges facing the health and social care systems.
He is also a lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Newly elected vice chair Ms Popplestone has been a registered nurse since 1978 and works as a clinical nurse specialist at Macmillan, developing and providing a nurse-led service for patients with urological cancers.
She is an accredited RCN steward and was a member of the RCN UK Stewards Committee from 2013 to 2016.
She had also previously served as a member of the RCN Trade Union Committee.
“I’m proud to be taking on the role of vice chair of RCN Council and am looking forward to using my experience to best meet the needs of members,” said Ms Popplestone.
“I’m committed to listening, learning and responding to what members tell us so we are truly representative of the nursing profession.”
RCN chief executive and general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair congratulated the pair on being elected and said she looked forward to “working with them both closely”.
“This is an incredibly important time for the college, as we fight to secure safe staffing and fair pay, and together we will work for our members,” said Dame Donna.
The RCN has recently launched its Fair Pay for Nursing campaign, which is calling for a new one-year pay deal, to be implemented as soon as possible.