NHS Confederation responds to comments made by Frank Hester

The NHS Confederation’s Health and Care Women Leaders Network responds to comments made by Frank Hester.

13 March 2024

Responding to comments made by Frank Hester earlier this week, Samantha Allen, chair of the Health and Care Women Leaders Network said:

"As the network representing women across heath and care, we feel compelled to call out this abhorrent racist and misogynistic language in the strongest possible terms.

"As health and care leaders we know that prejudice goes beyond ill-chosen language; that discrimination can become baked into our institutions and have life-and-death consequences for marginalised groups. There is evidence that black women in this country continue to face racial inequalities within our systems. As we continue to eliminate these inequalities from our services, we cannot turn a blind eye to the attitudes that continue to disadvantage the communities we serve.

"We stand with all women facing abuse in public life. Women have the right to feel physically and psychologically safe. Our members remain all too aware of the importance of keeping women safe, and of continuing to speak up against racism, misogyny and abuse in all its forms."

Joan Saddler, the NHS Confederation’s Director of Partnerships and Equalities said:

“It is impossible to overstate the importance of integrity in public life.

“As we see the continued stoking of culture wars, of the positioning of some individuals and communities as more deserving than others, we cannot forget that our language has consequences and can further embed structural discrimination. We shape the society we want to live in as a reflection of our values”.

"As leaders it is our responsibility to call out discriminatory language and dismantle structural discrimination whenever we see it. We must follow through on any commitment to respect by ensuring dignity and respect for all."