‘I don’t want any more black nurses’
What she said
iour, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) heard last Friday.
A conduct committee branded her views as deplorable and she was suspended from working in the profession for a year.
The panel noted that while it was no excuse for her behaviour, which happened between April and December 2011, Coetzee was under a large amount of pressure as manager of the new “flagship” care home.
It was also noted that the misconduct was over a limited period of time in a “long and otherwise umblemished” career.
Chairman Stuart Turnock said: “The panel noted that Mrs Coetzee’s comments clearly suggested she might act in a discriminatory manner in relation to recruitment.
“It is not alleged that she acted in a discriminatory manner towards patients or that there was any actual or potential harm to patients as a result of her attitude.”
He added: “The panel was of the view that a period of suspension would provide Mrs Coetzee with time to reflect upon her failings and to demonstrate greater insight.
“A suspension order would, in the panel’s view, send a clear signal to Mrs Coetzee, to the profession and to the public that her behaviour was unacceptable.” The tribunal heard that Coetzee became “distressed and unhappy” after colleagues employed a Jamaican nurse while she was on leave and was adamant the centre would only employ British staff.
Giving evidence, administrator Gabriella Perrer said there were sometimes
photographs Mrs Coetzee was accused of a catalogue of racist remarks and racially-motivated actions. It was alleged that between April 1 and December 13, 2011, she said the following: attached to the front of applications and that one file she took to Coetzee in September 2011 displayed a black applicant on the front.
“I took the file to her in the evening just before I was due to go home,” she said
“Moments later Helene came out of the office and into the reception area where I was with the paperwork in her hand while some people were around us.
“Helene stated to me: ‘I don’t want any more black nurses, there are already enough in the home.’
“She didn’t even look at the applications if the person in a picture was coloured.”
Coetzee made further racist comments to stunned bosses even after they launched an investigation, the hearing was told.
Receptionist Pauline Parker said Coetzee’s management style left her so stressed that for three months she had a letter of resignation kept in her handbag.
“Warren Lodge often had people walking in during the day looking for work,” she said.
“A black lady walked in to ask about a job and I told her we were not actively recruiting at that time. I now see Helene behind the lady and she was shaking her head at me.”
After the woman left, Mrs Coetzee told the receptionist: “We can’t employ ladies of that nature.”
She then stated that when she was old and in a care home herself she would not want to be toileted by a black man.
Coetzee, who first nursed in South Africa, told another colleague that care home residents were fortunate to be cared for by white men.
On another occasion she said: “There was a time I thought we had enough Indian nurses.”
Coetzee, who did not attend hearing and did not send a representative, can return to nursing after her 12-month ban.
Bupa’s director of operations, Richard Jackson, said after the hearing: “We actively promote diversity and equality in all our homes and Ms Coetzee’s behaviour was unacceptable.
“We suspended and dismissed her following the incidents in 2011 and referred her to the NMC.”
Helene Coetzee shocked colleagues with her views