to Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health

Rt Hon Matt Hancock, MP
Secretary of State for Health

Dear Mr Hancock

Nightingale Society members were pleased to see recognition of Nightingale at the House of Commons at a recent event, at which your remarks were highly positive.

We are pressing for ongoing recognition of her important work, not only as the major founder of the modern nursing profession and a hospital reformer, but as a pioneer of evidence-based health care and early advocate of universal access to (quality) health care, points still little realized, especially in the nursing profession.

We have asked the NHS and the NHS Leadership Academy in particular, to recognize her with an annual award. No response.

There has been discussion about an annual Nightingale lecture at Parliament. The Department of Health could sponsor it.

We have also urged, and continue to urge, recognition of her legacy in the leadership given by later generations of nursing leaders she inspired. The top candidate, we believe, to honour, would be the Nigerian Kofoworola Abeni Pratt, a Nightingale nurse (who chose the Nightingale School for her training because of her regard for Nightingale. She began training in 1946, and was, in 1948, on the launching of the NHS, its first black nurse. Yet nurses do not know this, even nurses at the current Nightingale Faculty, housed now at King’s College, London.

These are not either/or proposals. Mrs Pratt was a Nightingale nurse, carrying on her work. She was the major founder of professional nursing in Nigeria, which in turn influenced the development of nursing in Africa generally.

Yours sincerely

(members of the Nightingale Society)