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Press Release – vigil for Milton Hanson

14/11/2005

HUNDREDS ARE expected at a vigil to be held this Thursday (17th November 2005) for Milton Hanson, a sexual health nurse-turned-whistleblower who exposed racism in the NHS and who tragically died earlier this month.

Milton Hanson
Milton Hanson

The vigil will be outside King’s College Hospital, Camberwell, where Milton worked at the Caldicot Clinic, on Thursday, starting at 4.30pm.

It will coincide with a march on the British High Commission in Jamaica in support of Milton on the same day.

A genuine community hero, the 56-year-old nurse exposed racism in the NHS, even though it cost him his job and looked set to lose him his career.

He died in Portland, Jamaica, two days after being taken to hospital after suffering a stroke.

His case was taken up by Blink which found him to be a genuine whistleblower who had raised serious concerns about racism internally for years and felt it was being brushed under the carpet by Kings College NHS Trust.

The sacking had a major impact on Milton.  His health suffered and the battle for justice brought on stress.  There are questions over whether the actions of his former employers contributed to his untimely death.

David Neita, his lawyer, paid said:  “Milton Hanson, has died but his spirit lives. He was exceptional and inspirational in standing up for the community when it mattered most.

“Milton was loved by many, and he also became a symbol of struggle in the face of all odds. His friends, family and many people from the commmunity will gather on Thursday to honour him and demand justice.”

DAVID NEITA is available for interview: 07956 972 653

Details of Vigil
Date: Thursday, 17th November 2005
Time: From 4.30pm
Address: (Outside) King&#39s College Hospital , Denmark Hill, London SE5 9RS
Train: Denmark Hill station

Notes to Editors:

1. Some of the concerns he raised internally have been proven. An independent investigation found between 10 and 15 patients had been misdiagnosed. That in itself was extremely serious.

2. Milton believed that was the tip of the iceberg and that the patients were black. Following his concerns Kings College Trust introduced a number of changes safeguarding the welfare of patients and race awareness training.

3. But they never admitted racism or disciplined any of the white staff members Milton named in very detailed witness statements chronicling racial and physical abuse alleged to have been carried out against black patients.

4. Milton lost an employment tribunal at which he represented himself. Having sacked him in July 2003 Kings College sought to punish him twice by seeking to have him struck off the nursing register by him to the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

5. Milton was waiting for an NMC disciplinary hearing date when he returned to native Jamaica to care for his mother. He suffered a stroke on 31st October.

6. Milton, of Tulse Hill, south London, leaves his long-term partner Pearlita Brown and son Scott.

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Resources:

pdf The recruitment and retention of BME staff in the NHS

pdf Race Equality Foundation briefing: The impact of racism on health inequalities

pdf Race Equality Foundation briefing: Effective communication with service users

pdf Race Equality Foundation briefing: Improving the quality of palliative care

MIND: Rights Guides

pdf BME Needs Assessment: Diabetes and Hypertension

pdf Independent Inquiry into the death of David Bennett

pdf Draft Mental Health Bill

Links:

Nightingale Declaration

hyper GUIDE to the Mental Health Act.

MyHealthnet

Black People's Mental Health Association

Cancer Black Care

Black and Asian Therapists Online

African HIV Policy Network

National BME Mental health Network

The Afiya Trust

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