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Nurses Pass 'No Confidence' Vote

Nurses Pass 'No Confidence' Vote

Nurses recently passed a vote of 'no confidence' with regard to the Health Secretary's management of NHS reforms.

The vote, which took place at the Royal College of Nurses (RCN) annual congress in Liverpool, was passed with a 98.7% majority.

Such a high level of opposition is unprecedented, making Andrew Lansley the first Health Minister in history to be the subject of a no confidence vote.

Nurses are particularly angry about the 354 page Health and Social Care Bill that is currently the subject of much debate in Parliament. If passed, the reforms would hand more control to GPs, while specialist nurses would be downgraded and wages frozen.

Peter Carter, general secretary of the RCN, claimed the reforms could “turn out to be the biggest disaster in the history of our public services”. This comes as Labour leader Ed Miliband continued his criticism of the proposed Bill, saying they were already in “intensive care” and the Government should “junk it”.

In response, Andrew Lansley travelled to Liverpool to attend the conference. Even so, he refused to address all the delegates, and instead spoke to an audience of 65 nurses selected to represent different regions of the country. This caused much anger amongst members of the RCN, who felt the Health Secretary should have faced the entire 500 strong conference.

He apologised for not making himself properly understood, saying: “I am sorry if what I'm setting out to do hasn't communicated itself”. He remained defiant, however, on the nature of the reforms telling the nurses: "I would be joining you in voting against me if I thought the product of what I was doing was to undermine the NHS."

Despite Lansley's determination, the health reforms continue to cause controversy, with critics claiming the Bill will damage the NHS. After months of attacks, the Government has conceded to hold another consultation on the changes, even though the Bill has already started progressing through Parliament.

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