• Anne Marie Rafferty elected president, while Yvonne Coghill elected deputy president
  • Pair picked from 11 candidates and will serve two year term
  • Union currently electing a new council following a mass resignation 

The Royal College of Nursing has appointed a new president and deputy president, who will both take up office in the new year.

Anne Marie Rafferty, professor of nursing policy at the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care at King’s College London, has been elected president of the RCN. Yvonne Coghill, director of the Workforce Race Equality Standard at NHS England, has been elected deputy president.

The pair were selected from 11 candidates who ran for the two positions and will serve a two year term. A total of 6.9 per cent of RCN members took part in the vote and Professor Rafferty was elected with a 26 per cent majority and Ms Coghill a 35 per cent majority.

Professor Rafferty has been involved in the RCN since 2015, acting as an RCN representative for the Health Quality Improvement Partnership and currently acts as a member of the Safe Staffing Expert Reference Group.

She said: “There are clearly many challenges ahead for nursing so we need to pull together as members to put the profession at the forefront and face those challenges.

“Looking at governance and communication in the RCN will be my first priority internally. Tackling safe nurse staffing levels will be my focus externally.”

Ms Coghill added: “There’s lots of work to do but I’m excited about the prospect of working with members to make the RCN the best it can possibly be.”

RCN acting chief executive and general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair said: “The backing they have received from members is a testament to the lifetime contribution they have made to nursing and the clear ambition they’ve shown for our profession.”

The union is in the process of electing a new council. This follows a mass resignation in response to a vote of no confidence from its members over its handling of the NHS pay deal.