MORE than 250 people have signed a petition calling for a hospital trust to reinstate its race equality champion.

Vivienne Lyfar-Cisse was dismissed from Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust last week.

A petition set up by colleagues is calling for Dr Lyfar-Cisse to be given back her job with “immediate effect”.

Dr Lyfar-Cisse has previously highlighted race equality issues at the trust to the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

This resulted in strong criticism of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals by the CQC in its inspection report and contributed to it being placed in special measures.

The petition says Dr Lyfar-Cisse, a principal clinical biochemist, has worked for the trust since 1983.

She previously won an employment tribunal against the trust in 2007 for discrimination and a second case was settled out of court.

More recently Dr Lyfar-Cisse was given the job of helping he trust improve its record over race relations.

She is also the chairwoman of the trust’s black and minority ethnic (BME) network.

The petition said: “On June 28 2017 Dr Lyfar-Cisse was dismissed from her role, by an unjust process which would prevent her from continuing to highlight the institutional racism in the organisation and which is a clear case of victimisation.”

The petition said Dr Lyfar-Cisse was being investigated under the Fit and Proper Person Regulations (FPPR) in line with the Health and Social Care Act 2008.

However, the petition says this does not apply to her because she is not a director or a board member.

The case is expected to lead to an employment tribunal.

Earlier this year concerns raised over racial discrimination at the trust were highlighted in a report.

The findings emerged in a study carried out by the trust’s workforce race equality standard team.

The report found BME staff at the trust were more likely to face disciplinary action than white members of staff.

They were also not getting the same opportunities, such as being shortlisted for senior jobs, or getting funding for extra training.

The results of an NHS national staff survey were also highlighted by the group.

It showed the percentage of BME workers who experienced harassment, bullying or abuse from staff in the past 12 months was 44 per cent.

This was a clear rise from the 30 per cent recorded the year before.