NHS Leadership Academy
Dear Mr Hart
We wish to raise two matters with you, one positive, one negative, and ask a question.
The positive is the promotion of an outstanding nursing leader, Kofoworola Abeni Pratt (1915-92), the first black nurse in the NHS, who remains remarkably unknown and uncelebrated. We want to see her recognized, such as by the naming of a Leadership Award after her. We can send you a link detailing her accomplishments, and there is a fine biography available on her.
The negative is the continuing downgrading of the work of Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), the first person to articulate the vision that became the core principles of the NHS. This neglect is combined with misinformation (now going on for many years) of Mary Seacole, a fine and generous businesswoman and volunteer hospital visitor during the Crimean War, but who was not a pioneer nurse, nor ever claimed to be one.
We note the bizarre ranking of Seacole as the top pioneer/ leader, by Clare Price-Dowd, of the NHS Leadership Academy, in an article published in the British Journal of Nursing. Price-Dowd gave no achievements by Seacole to justify that ranking. A letter to her follows which sets out our concerns in detail.
We note that the NHS Leadership Academy has programmes named after Edward Jenner, Rosalind Franklin, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and Nye Bevan, all well qualified for the honour. There is no nursing leader, however, but Mary Seacole is named as one, without good grounds. She has many noteworthy achievements, but can you name anything she did in hospital nursing herself, or training nurses, mentoring nurses, producing books or articles on nursing and effecting change for the better in the profession?
We note that the Bicentenary of Nightingale’s birth will be celebrated next year, and ask what the NHS Leadership Academy plans to do to for this celebration.. We would be happy to provide you with information on the importance of Nightingale’s vision and work towards making quality health care available to all, regardless of ability to pay.
[ 18 members of the Nightingale Society ]