Nurses and health staff from the union Unison are to debate whether registered nurses should be banned from joining the far-right British National Party (BNP) at a conference next month.
Police are already banned from joining the BNP because of fears that its extreme political views will affect officers’ conduct. However the publication of a list last year of BNP members showed that several practising and former nurses were members of the party.
The motion, ‘BNP policy is incompatible with nursing’, to be debated at next month’s Health Group Annual Conference in Harrogate in April. It reminds nurses that the Nursing and Midwifery Council code stipulates that nurses should never discriminate against people under their care.
The motion says: ‘Membership of the BNP is wholly incompatible with public service, and this is especially so for Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors who have a unique role in caring for vulnerable people on a daily basis.’ It calls for the government to raise the issue with government and the four Departments of Health to establish legal powers to prevent BNP members and members of other racist groups from employment in nursing roles.
They should ensure that standards within the Improving Working Lives initiative are tightened to take account of the importance of diversity, the motion says.
If the motion succeeds, the union will also press the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to support its call for legislation on this issue and issue interim advice to registered nurses of the standards expected of them.