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NHSE wrongly dismissed discrimination claim from black nurse, tribunal finds

NHS England has lost an employment tribunal case against a senior black nurse on grounds of race discrimination and whistleblowing, and has been criticised for serious flaws in its own investigations.

A judgement published today found Michelle Cox, a black woman who was an NHS continuing healthcare manager based in NHSE’s North West regional team, was excluded by her manager “at every opportunity”.

The case centres on problems between Ms Cox and her line manager, then regional head of continuing healthcare, which took place from around April 2019 to November 2020.

The tribunal ruled Ms Cox's line manager– who is now an associate director of nursing in the West Yorkshire integrated care system – had created an “intimidating and hostile and humiliating environment” for Ms Cox, which had the purpose and effect of unlawful harassment.

The tribunal also upheld Ms Cox’s complaint of detriment for whistleblowing, including for raising concerns that members of her team were sitting on continuing healthcare “independent review panels”, which she pointed out was a breach of independence and legal obligations.

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Source: HSJ, 22 February 2023


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