The BAME Staff Network at Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are shining a light on the great Windrush Generation as we celebrate 75 years of the MV Empire Windrush arriving in the UK.
The launch of the NHS on 5 July 1948 and the arrival of the Empire Windrush 13 days earlier on 22 June are closely linked. Mainly former service personnel, this was the first wave of post war immigration with many of the ship’s 492 passengers taking up jobs in the NHS and helped build the service to what it is today.
We know, the journey of the early Black and minority ethnic colleagues in the NHS, and in British society, was not an easy one. Faced with racial discrimination and public outcry, they were not always welcome. The same experiences were faced by those who followed over the next few decades.
Today we are recognising and paying tribute to the many colleagues from the Windrush Generation who worked at our hospitals and contributed significantly to the local NHS throughout the years. As such, we are showcasing three case studies of our past colleagues who worked at Bedford Hospital and the Luton and Dunstable Hospital.
Zahra Gad, Co-Chair of the Trust’s BAME Staff Network said:
“Today, Black and ethnic minority colleagues make up 45% of our Trust workforce and many were or are decendants of the great Windrush Generation, who created a lasting legacy for us all. We know these case studies are just a small selection of a much wider number of colleagues who came over to England to be part of our workforce. We continue to pay tribute to them all on this Windrush Day”.
Helen Prince who was a Mental Health Nurse at Weller Wing, Bedford Hospital
Jacqueline Blackett who was a Staff Nurse in St Mary’s Wing, L&D
Lenore Keir who was a Staff Nurse and Midwife at the L&D