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Black nurses overlooked for promotion, NHS warning

Royal College of Nursing opens exhibition 'Hidden in Plain Sight'

13 October, 2017 — By Angela Cobbinah

Yvonne Coghill at the conference 

BLACK nurses working for the NHS are as likely to be disciplined as they are to be overlooked for promotion, NHS England’s equality chief Yvonne Coghill said this week.

“How many black and minority ethnic (BAME) nurses in the country work as directors of nursing? The answer is four,” she said.

“London is the worst place in the country for the equality gap. Here BAME nurses are six times more likely to be disciplined and five times less likely to get a job.”

That was why so many black nurses bypassed the hierarchy and worked as agency nurses, which was very costly.

Speaking at the launch of the Royal College of Nursing’s Black History Month on Wednesday she said although there had been some progress the problems outlined in the government’s race disparity audit, published earlier in the week, were nothing new.

“It is saying what was being said 40 years ago when I first started in the NHS,” she told the gathering at the RCN’s Cavendish Square HQ.

“There were 24 nurses in my [class] set and most went on to become directors of nursing. Of the four BAME nurses, aside from myself, two are health workers and one has left the profession. Something is going on in our society that means it is not working well.”

However the NHS’ Workforce Race Equality Standard, set up in 2014, was attempting to change the narrative with a

programme requiring all hospitals trusts to produce data measuring their own equity levels.

“The statistics speak for themselves and there is nowhere to hide anymore,” said Ms Coghill, its director of implementation.

Challenging racism delivered better outcomes in terms productivity and better health care, she added.

Ms Coghill’s talk also marked the opening of the RCN’s new exhibition Hidden in Plain Sight, which celebrates the profession’s diversity, including the role of LGBT and deaf nurses.

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