Royal College of Nursing cancels annual conference over sexual harassment allegations

Royal College of Nursing cancels annual conference over sexual harassment allegations
Review being conducted ‘as a matter of urgency’

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has said its annual conference due to be held in Liverpool next month will be held online only, following “serious allegations of sexual harassment”.

In a statement published online, it said: “In light of serious allegations of sexual harassment and after independent legal advice, elected members of the RCN Council met and decided the best way to safeguard members attending Congress is to move this year’s meeting to a fully virtual event.”

It added: “As a matter of urgency, RCN is undertaking a full review of all safeguarding policies and procedures as part of our cultural change.”

It did not provide details of the allegations, but said it took a “zero tolerance approach” at all times.

Chair of RCN Council, Carol Popplestone, said: ““We know that many members planning to attend were looking forward to seeing each other in person for the first time in two years. But this decision was made with members’ safety at the top of our minds. That is what we are here to safeguard at all costs.”

She added: “I am absolutely determined that congress will still be its usual fascinating mix of debates, events and speeches. Getting together virtually won’t stand in the way of that.”

The RCN represents more than 465,000 nurses, student nurses, midwives and nursing support workers in the UK and internationally.

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