Former psychiatric nurse Peter Carter has repositioned the Royal College of Nursing as a thoughtful and moderate influence on health policy.

He dropped the College’s knee jerk opposition to many changes, including hospital closures and use of the private sector, and has stressed the need to tailor responses to local circumstances; his background as a former mental health chief executive has probably allowed him to see all sides of the argument. Rebuilding the relationship between the government and the largest part of the health workforce is a significant achievement.