Gay man re-elected chair of Royal College of Nursing Congress

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The world’s largest trade union for nurses, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), has re-elected a gay man as the Chair of the RCN’s Annual Congress for a further two years.

Jason Warriner, a founding member of the College’s LGBT group, RCN OUT!, was first elected to the influential position in 2006.

At the RCN Congress nurses from across the UK gather to debate about healthcare policy and the future direction of the organisation.

Held every spring, it attracts upwards of 4,000 delegates.

The RCN, founded in 1916, has close to 400,000 members across the UK.

It represents nurses and nursing, promotes excellence in practice and shapes health policies.

“I am delighted with my re-election and look forward to ensuring that all members have a representative voice within the RCN and the wider world,” Mr Warriner, Matron for Sexual Health and HIV at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, told Medical News Today.

“The last two years have been particularly pleasing as we’ve seen the College continue to modernise and it’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) members now play a higher profile role in events such as Gay Pride and the first LGBT Annual Health Summit.

“I am pleased that in the last two years there has been a greater recognition of the contribution LGBT nurses make to the health of the nation and I’m hopeful that this will continue.”

Mr Warriner has worked on projects to support LGBT staff in the workplace.

As well as chairing the Congress, he will also lead the committee responsible for setting each Congress’s agenda.

In May Congress overwhelmingly passed a motion in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans young people.

More than 95% of delegates supported the call for the RCN Council to “develop and promote best practice to combat the barriers to health and homophobic bullying faced by LGBT youth in the UK.”

Last year the RCN backed calls for ‘explicit and proactive’ training in the NHS to combat gay prejudice.