Calls for other temporary COVID-19 hospitals to be named after influential nurses

Mary Seacole among figures requested by petition and social media posts

Should the COVID-19 hospital at the NEC in Birmingham be named after Mary Seacole? Picture: iStock

Calls have been made via a petition, and on social media, for other temporary COVID-19 hospitals in the UK to be named after influential nurses.

The suggestion follows the London COVID-19 centre being named after Florence Nightingale, and today’s announcement that the COVID-19 hospital at the Scottish Events Campus in Glasgow is to be called NHS Louisa Jordan.

Sister Louisa Jordan, who born in Glasgow, was a nurse who served in the First World War and died on active service in Serbia in 1915.

Campaign for hospital to honour Mary Seacole

Former director of Brent Health Action Zone, Patrick Vernon, has launched a petition for the temporary COVID-19 hospital at the NEC in Birmingham to be named after pioneering nurse Mary Seacole.

The petition currently has more than 5,000 signatures.

Director of the Workforce Race Equality Standard at NHS England and NHS Improvement, Yvonne Coghill, joined Mr Vernon on Twitter to raise concerns that black and minority ethnic staff were not being represented on a national scale during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Mr Vernon told Nursing Standard: ‘[By not being represented] It negates our contribution to the NHS.

‘It’s not just about Mary Seacole. There are other people who can be recognised who have contributed to the health service.’

Another voice on Twitter echoed the call for nurses to be honoured:

NHS England has been contacted for comment regarding the Birmingham COVID-19 hospital petition.

NHS Nightingale Hospital update

NHS Nightingale Hospital chief operating officer Natalie Forrest said the amount of staff that will be needed to run the facility is ‘scary’.

‘If we have to use this facility… we will need thousands of doctors and nurses and volunteers,’ she added.

Work visas for nurses to be extended

Nurses with visas due to expire before 1 October 2020 will have them automatically extended for one year free of charge, the government has announced.

Home secretary Priti Patel said she does not want front-line NHS staff to be distracted by the visa process while the UK continues to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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