A HOSPITAL boss says he was referring to a "tiny minority" when he said North East Essex was a racist, homophobic, nasty place to live.

During a session with other NHS chief executives organised by the Health Service Journal, Nick Hulme said the area had people who made bigoted, right wing, racist and homophobic remarks.

Mr Hulme, who is in charge at Colchester Hospital, said he and his colleagues had a responsibility to try and change the culture.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Hulme apologised if he had offended people and said he did not believe the majority of people held discriminatory views.

He said: “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”.