A black nurse was racially discriminated against when she was banned from taking care of a sick white baby in 1995, a tribunal ruled today.
Rosie Purves, 58, had brought the case against Southampton University Hospital's NHS Trust for race discrimination and failing to prevent the abuse. Managers moved the six-month-old child to a different ward after the mother of the baby complained to staff.
Chairman Martin Kurrein awarded Mrs Purves £20,000 in compensation at the employment tribunal in Southampton. The NHS Trust, he said, "was effectively silent and complicit in the racist demands being made by the mother as to the treatment of her daughter. It was extremely hurtful for the applicant to be excluded from caring for a child simply on the basis of the colour of her skin."
Jennie Sandle, the Transport & General Workers Union representative in the case, told reporters:
"It has never, ever been a question of money. The only thing Rosie has been looking to do is ensure that no-one suffers the same thing. She cannot bear it happening to anyone else."
In a statement issued after the tribunal's findings, Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust said:
"In hindsight we should have refused treatment and in future will do so. Rosie is a superb nurse and we are sincerely sorry for all the distress that this has caused her."
In future, the wounded pride of black nursing staff would come before the physical suffering of white babies, whose genes were possessed of their mothers' racist attitudes, cystic fibrosis or not. Patients or patient guardians who expressed a preference for treatment from white or Asian staff would be disposed of in hospital incinerators.