‘I don’t want any more black nurses’

What she said

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Town Centre – The Good And The Bad -

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

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