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‘Incredibly discriminatory’ email about Nigerian nurse prompts NMC intervention

Regulator and NHS commissioning group investigate message sent to job applicant
illustration shows two job applications – one from white candidate, one from black candidate

NHS Coventry and Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group insists it opposes racism after job applicants daughter shares damaging message on Twitter

An apparently discriminatory comment sent to a Nigerian nurse about her nationality is being investigated by the nurse regulator and an NHS commissioning group.

The comment, forwarded in an email from a member of staff at NHS Coventry and Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group to a general practice job applicant, reads: Another one but again Nigerian.

This shows what is said behind the scenes

The womans daughter condemned the messages incredibly discriminatory language, stating on Twitter: This was clearly not intended for us to see, but it confirmed what is being said behind the scenes.

She

NHS Coventry and Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group insists it opposes racism after job applicant’s daughter shares damaging message on Twitter

illustration shows two job applications – one from white candidate, one from black candidate
Picture: iStock

An apparently discriminatory comment sent to a Nigerian nurse about her nationality is being investigated by the nurse regulator and an NHS commissioning group.

The comment, forwarded in an email from a member of staff at NHS Coventry and Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group to a general practice job applicant, reads: ‘Another one but again Nigerian’.

‘This shows what is said behind the scenes’

The woman’s daughter condemned the message’s ‘incredibly discriminatory language’, stating on Twitter: ‘This was clearly not intended for us to see, but it confirmed what is being said behind the scenes.’

She said her mother had worked through the pandemic and had survived COVID-19, having contracted coronavirus at work.

The clinical commissioning group insisted it ‘stands against all forms of racism and discrimination’ and is now investigating the matter urgently.

NMC to work with employer and staff involved

NMC chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe said: ‘We are aware of the unacceptable comment, which is another example of the long road ahead to stamping out discrimination.

‘We will work with the employer and the individuals involved to ensure the right support is provided and the appropriate action is taken.’

Ms Sutcliffe added that the NMC’s code of conduct states registrants must not only treat people in a non-discriminatory way, but challenge prejudiced attitudes and behaviours too.

Racism in the NHS: equality report ‘denied’ problem

A report by the government’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities and published in March was criticised by nurses who said it ignored the reality of systemic racism in the NHS.

Writing for Nursing Standard, Equality 4 Black Nurses founder Neomi Bennett said: ‘I would have liked the government to acknowledge our experiences of racism… it has essentially denied the existence of structural racism.’

Read Neomi Bennett’s article

Racist behaviours: call for more education of NHS staff

A spokesperson for the Nigerian Nurses Charitable Association UK, which represents and supports 3,000 Nigerian nurses, said prejudice was not uncommon.

‘It is however not often glaringly done in an email as the case in question showed,’ the spokesperson said.

They added NHS staff need to be educated about racist behaviours.

There are 1,902 Nigerian nurses and health visitors working in England, according to NHS data, making them the ninth largest group of nurses and health visitors by nationality in England’s NHS.


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