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Wednesday, 14 August, 2002, 12:56 GMT 13:56 UK
Top nurse quits over 'racist' remark
Nurses were offended by Ms Bottrill's remark
Nurses were offended by Ms Bottrill's remark
A leading nurse has resigned after making an "inappropriate and offensive" remark at a meeting.

Pat Bottrill, chairman of the Royal College of Nursing's governing council, was calling members of the committee back from a coffee break when she used the phrase "10 little niggers", the title of an Agatha Christie novel.

Some of the members of the committee were black.

An RCN spokeswoman told BBC News Online: "Obviously, it caused offence and people were shocked that she used that phrase."

Beverley Malone: said Ms Bottrill had made a 'personal sacrifice'
Beverley Malone: Said Ms Bottrill had made a 'personal sacrifice'
Ms Bottrill, who had been chairman of the council since October last year, resigned at an emergency meeting of the RCN council on 13 August, over two weeks after the original meeting took place.

The committee she chaired is charged with drawing up the rules for how the RCN works, including the diversity guidelines which her remark broke.

Ms Bottrill said: "I sincerely regret the remark.

"Although I did not intend any offence, I am stepping down as chair as a sign of my own and the RCN's commitment to tackling any perceived form of racism."

She added: "The RCN has stated that it will not tolerate racism, even if unintentional, and by my resignation I wish to demonstrate that the organisation means what it says: we must now use this opportunity to bring this issue higher up the RCN's and others' agendas."

Tackling 'institutional discrimination'

Beverly Malone, general secretary of the RCN, said: "Pat has made a personal sacrifice for the good of the RCN.

"She has apologised for the offence her remark caused and I accept that apology on behalf of myself and staff.

"The decision today confirms that the RCN collectively is committed to tackling institutional discrimination in all its forms and Pat has demonstrated that today."

Ms Bottrill has been replaced by her former deputy, Jill Jarvis, who said: "Pat has made a tremendous contribution to the work of the RCN over 27 years and we are saddened by her resignation as Chair.

"However, we respect the judgement she has made in the best interests of the RCN."

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The BBC's Chris Hogg
"This was a throw away comment"
See also:

14 Jun 02 | Health
28 Apr 01 | Health
20 Jun 02 | Health
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