COVID-19: Yvonne Coghill to lead BAME safeguarding drive before retiring from post

Ms Coghill will step down as head of Workforce Race Equality Standard programme in September

Yvonne Coghill. Picture: David Gee

A senior nurse leader and champion of race equality will help to safeguard London’s black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) NHS staff from COVID-19 before she retires from a key post in September.

After a successful stewardship, director of NHS England’s Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) programme Yvonne Coghill has announced she will step down from the position.

COVID-19 risk assessments for BAME staff 

However, Ms Coghill will lead a new programme before her departure, which will support NHS employers in London to carry out risk assessments for BAME staff and make any necessary changes, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Ms Coghill – who is also RCN deputy president and chair of the judging panel for the RCNi Nurse of the Year Awards – said she was proud that the WRES programme had made significant progress in making the health service a better place to work for BAME staff.

Aiming to ‘make the NHS a fairer and more equal employer’

‘But everyone recognises that we have a long way to go,’ she said. ‘COVID-19 has injected even greater urgency into the work we are doing to support staff from BAME backgrounds.

‘I’d like to thank my team and everyone across the NHS for their continued work to make the NHS a fairer and more equal employer.’

Habib Naqvi, who will be interim director of the WRES programme until a replacement for Ms Coghill is found, thanked Ms Coghill ‘for her inspirational leadership and dedicated commitment to workforce race equality’.

Nurse leaders take to Twitter to praise Yvonne Coghill

Tributes from across the profession have poured in on Twitter.

Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust chief nurse Karen Bonner wrote that Ms Coghill had left ‘an amazing legacy’.

She added: ‘London will benefit greatly from your expertise. Thank you for all that you have done.’

‘A passionate advocate and a lovely person’

Nursing and Midwifery Council chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe wrote: ‘An amazing career, an incredible legacy, a passionate advocate and a lovely, lovely person. Thank you for everything you’ve done Yvonne. What a leader.’

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