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QNI commits to becoming ‘anti-racist’ organisation

QNI commits to becoming ‘anti-racist’ organisation
Queens Nursing Institute CEO Dr Crystal Oldman, Michelle Cox QN. Image credit: Anna Gordon

The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) publicly committed to becoming an ‘anti-racist organisation’ at a lecture and awards ceremony on Friday evening.

The commitment followed a speech from Queen’s Nurse and race equality consultant, Michelle Cox, at The William Rathbone X annual award and lecture.

Ms Cox’s speech ‘Healing the Scars: Community Nursing in Liverpool Amidst the Legacy of Slavery and Discrimination’ addressed the history of slavery in Liverpool and revealed how the Rathbone family, which has historic links with the QNI, had sold cotton produced on American slave plantations.

In February 2023, Ms Cox won a ‘landmark’ employment tribunal against NHS England and NHS Improvement for racial discrimination.

The judgement found that Ms Cox had been treated unfairly by her employer who sought to intimidate the senior NHS nurse because of her race and willingness to speak up.

Commenting on the case Ms Cox said: ‘When I take on NHS England for a case of race discrimination, I mean Black lives matter, I mean Black nurses lives matter.’

She added that her win was ‘a win for all global majority staff in the NHS experiencing discrimination’.

The QNI’s commitment followed Ms Cox’s comments on the need to build equality, diversity and inclusion in nursing for the QNI ‘to become an anti-racist organisation’.

The QNI agreed to Ms Cox’s request that the institute commission more research into the legacy and influence of slavery on the organisation.

This request follows Ms Cox’s own research into the Rathbone family’s wealth, which found that William Rathbone III had owned and sold a slave.

Dr Crystal Oldman, chief executive officer at the QNI, thanked Ms Cox for speaking  ‘truth to power’ and for being a ‘fantastic advisor, as we’re on our journey to become an anti-racist organisation’.

Ms Cox said she was here to ‘guide the QNI’ so that ‘[they] don’t get it wrong’, and urged the charity to listen to professionals within the field and work with communities across England.

She stressed that ‘racism is impacting on the NHS and nurses everyday’, highlighting the experiences of ‘internationally educated nurses who don’t have a voice’.

Ms Cox called for more allyship training and affirmative actions to address the underrepresentation of Black nurses in chief and director of nursing positions, and across more senior roles in organisations and NHS Trusts.

Answering questions from audience members, she said: ‘I think we continue to have an issue around bullying and harassment as nurses.

‘Learn from the Michelle Cox case, understand how many other cases are in the system.’

The William Rathbone X Award for Executive Nurse Leadership of Community Nursing Services is awarded annually by the QNI to recognise ‘exceptional leadership at a strategic level’ by individuals delivering nursing care in the community.

Suzanne Mumford, Care UK’s Head of Nursing, Care and Dementia, won this year’s award which was presented by Dr Rebecca Myers, Board Trustee at the QNI.

The QNI’s pledge follows a separate vote at The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Congress last summer, where nursing staff voted for action to ensure that the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is an anti-racist organisation.

The full list of nominations were:

  • Carolyn Bell, Prospect Hospice, Swindon
  • Helen Dobson, Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust
  • Paula Hull, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust
  • Kim O’Keeffe, Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • Suzanne Mumford, Care UK
  • Paula Simpson, Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust
  • Dawn Slater, Livewell Southwest CIC Social Enterprise, Plymouth






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