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List recognises work of leading nurses from BME backgrounds


Nursing staff were celebrated yesterday in a list designed to mark the huge contribution people from black and minority ethnic communities make to the NHS at all levels.

The list celebrates individuals from BME backgrounds who, through exceptional leadership abilities or their day to day example, are inspiring others and helping to shape and deliver excellent care for all.

The list of 50 people, compiled by Nursing Times’ sister title Health Service Journal, aims to spotlight just some of the many leaders, clinicians, academics, patient advocates and trade unionists making a difference.

Among those on the list are 13 nurses, midwives, healthcare assistants and leaders who started their careers in nursing (see below).

They include Obi Amadi, lead professional officer at Unite. A nurse by background, she has been involved in the campaign to end female genital mutilation by calling for school nurses and health visitors to be at the forefront of the campaign to identify young girls at risk of FGM.

Obi Amadi, Unite

Obi Amadi

Also recognised is Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, director of midwifery at Imperial College Healthcare Trust, who developed the first foundation degree for maternity support workers in London, and Nina Patel, a nurse consultant in diabetes at Ealing Hospital Trust, who has been instrumental in developing local sickle cell and thalassemia screening and counselling services.

Manjit Darby, director of nursing and quality at Leicestershire and Lincolnshire NHS England Area Team, is also on the list. She started a black, Asian and minority ethnic leadership network steering group earlier this year to improve the experiences and progression of nurses within the East Midlands. She began her career as general nurse in 1987 and is also a member of the chief nursing officer’s BME Advisory Group.

Caro lBaxter

Carol Baxter

In addition, there is Neomi Bennett, a nurse by background who invented a device called Neo-slip – a slippery inner sock which aids the application of elasticated anti-embolism stockings. Ms Bennett’s creation has led to her involvement in a parliamentary group to prevent deep vein thrombosis.

Nominations from across health and social care and from clinical and non-clinical backgrounds were submitted to a panel of judges who decided on the final list which is available on the HSJ website.

Visit the HSJ website for more information on other nurses on the list, or download a PDF of the HSJ BME Pioneers 2014 supplement.

Those on the HSJ BME Pioneer list who are nurses, midwives or have a background in the profession:

  • Obi Amadi, lead professional officer at Unite
  • Professor Carol Baxter, diversity, inclusion and human rights consultant
  • Neomi Bennett, managing director of Neo-Innovations
  • Maive Coley, clinical support worker at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust
  • Manjit Darby, director of nursing and quality at Leicestershire and Lincolnshire NHS England Area Team
  • Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, director of midwifery at Imperial College Healthcare Trust
  • Wendy Irwin, diversity and equalities coordinator at the Royal College of Nursing
  • Jackie Lynton, head of transformation at NHS Horizons Group, NHS Improving Quality
  • Tiritega Mawaka, manager, continuing healthcare at Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge Clinical Commissioning Groups

    Laura Serrant

    Laura Serrant-Green

  • Ruth Oshikanlu, trustee and founding director of the NU Social Health Organisation
  • Nina Patel, nurse consultant in diabetes, Ealing Hospital Trust
  • Yana Richens, consultant midwife at University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust
  • Professor Laura Serrant-Green, professor of community and public health nursing and associate dean of research and enterprise, School of Health and Wellbeing, Wolverhampton University

Readers' comments (3)

  • I don't really get this. Shouldn't we all be the same, not segregated. There would be an uproar if we had a celebration of individuals from white/non-BME nurse background.

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  • Congratulations to all concerned. Any doubters should look at the added difficulties faced by those from BME groups - respect and thank you.

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  • I don't think anyone doubts the abilities of this group (hate writing that, as we should all be as one), but perhaps more effort should be put into why BME groups have added difficulties, and address the issues.

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