Why won’t Royal College of Nursing release full results of a members’ survey?

Why won’t Royal College of Nursing release full results of a members’ survey?



One thought on “Why won’t Royal College of Nursing release full results of a members’ survey?

  1. johnrobertson834 June 21, 2016 / 9:59 am

    This emailed and posted today:
    Chief Executive
    Royal College of Nursing
    20 Cavendish Square
    W1G 0RN
    21st June 2016
    Re: https://www.rcn.org.uk/news-and-events/news/nursing-staff-reveal-impact-of-nhs-financial-crisis

    I write to request access to a full report on the above survey which is currently being used to fuel debate on the Scottish NHS, without proper transparency. I have already written to your press officer, Katherine Bancroft, on 19th June 2016, to request access and was stunned to get this reply:
    There is no accompanying report I am afraid. We are instead releasing the data through various media stories.
    Sorry not to be of more help
    When I pursued the matter, I was then told:
    It was a survey of 10,000 members and we are using the data gathered from the survey to produce a variety of different media stories – both this weekend and during the rest of the year. It’s a standard PR tactic.

    I then requested access, under the Freedom of Information Act. I have had no reply, three days later (21st June 2016). The data has been released selectively (unethically) to mainstream media generating these, for example, headlines:
    ‘Nurses in Scotland believe the NHS is in need of serious improvement’ (BBC Reporting Scotland)
    ‘9 out of 10 Scots nurses believe NHS cannot cope with demand’ (Scotsman)
    ‘Nine out of ten nurses say NHS is not coping’ (Herald)
    ‘One in eight nurses think Scottish NHS meets patient demand’ (Telegraph)
    ‘Nurses warn that the NHS is now unable to cope with demand and it urgently needs more staff and investment’ (Daily Record)
    You will appreciate that to release the results of a survey ‘through various media stories’ is a political act which can damage the reputation of the party of government and, in the Scottish context, the prospects for future political change. I note that Ms Bancroft gaily refers to it as PR! Consequently, the refusal to produce a full report and to release this for public scrutiny is both ideologically and ethically unsound.
    I write as retired Professor of Media Politics and Chair of the University Research Ethics Committee at the University of the West of Scotland (until 2015). The behaviour of the RCN in this case, in a proposal, would have been unacceptable to my committee and permission bluntly refused.
    As I understand the situation, the RCN is a Royal Charter body registered with the Privy Council. Consequently, it is subject to the Freedom of Information Act. You are obliged to respond within 20 working days with the information. It doesn’t matter who at RCN picks this up, the statutory clock has started.

    Please respond.

    Professor John Robertson
    7 Juniper Green
    Ayr KA7 3NG


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