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  1. ITV Report

Homophobic and racist: Health chief launches scathing criticism of north east Essex

Nick Hulme, the chief executive of the East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust has described north east Essex as “probably the most homophobic, racist, awful place in some senses to live in the country”.

His comments came at a roundtable event involving NHS executives from around the county, organised by the Health Service Journal.

Nick Hulme Credit: ITV Anglia

The meeting called on all health service leaders to challenge communities whose racist and homophobic views often lead to the abuse of NHS staff.

Nick Hulme was scathing about the views held by some in the area his organisation serves.

The Health Service Journal reports he described north east Essex as “probably the most homophobic, racist, awful place in some senses to live in the country”.

Colchester Hospital Credit: ITV Anglia

He said it was “not by accident” that the town of Clacton-on-Sea in the area had elected a UK Independence Party MP in 2014, and that “the single most important issue in any election for the last six years has always been ‘immigrants’ as they’re described by our local population”.

He added that people in north east Essex “are quite happy to sit around and talk about bloody foreigners and those p**fs that live at the end of the road”.

Turning to the rest of his patch he said: “I’ve not heard the overt racism and homophobia that I’ve heard in Suffolk for probably 30 years.”

Ipswich Hospital Credit: ITV Anglia

Mr Hulme says his trust has “a more diverse workforce than we do a patient group”

He said it was the role of trust chief executives to challenge racist and homophobic abuse, “when we hear it from our staff, but also when we hear it from our patients”.

Mr Hulme joined Ipswich Hospital Trust, a predecessor to East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust, 6 years ago after working in London.

Mr Hulme issued this statement in response to the story

“I stand by my comments about racist and homophobic behaviour. We have a zero tolerance approach to racist abuse and homophobia in our Trust. This is all about protecting our patients and staff. One important point that I made is that only a tiny minority of the communities we serve who display these behaviours. If anyone is offended by my comments, I apologise”.

– Nick Hulme, Chief Executive of East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust.