This site is intended for health professionals only

Leaders pay thanks to nurses from Windrush generation on 75th anniversary

Leaders pay thanks to nurses from Windrush generation on 75th anniversary
RCN president Sheilabye Sobrany

Nursing leaders have paid tribute to the dedication and contribution of health and care staff who travelled to the UK as part of the Windrush generation 75 years ago today.

On this day 75 years ago, HMT Empire Windrush arrived in the UK from the Caribbean, carrying on board many passengers who went on to work in the NHS when it was launched just weeks later.

Marking the anniversary today, the chief nursing officer (CNO) for England, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), the Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) and others have thanked those who from the Windrush generation for their ‘invaluable contribution’ across health and social care.

Dame Ruth May, CNO for England, highlighted that since the inception of the NHS – which will celebrate its 75th birthday in July – ‘health service colleagues and our patients have benefitted from the skills of health and care professionals from across the globe’.

Writing on social media, she added that today offered the chance to ‘celebrate the invaluable contribution that nursing and midwifery staff and others from the Windrush generation have made, and continue to make, to the NHS and social care’.

However, she also recognised that ‘some still face racial discrimination’ and called for collective action to address this.

‘It is the time for us all, collectively across society and the NHS to combat racism and achieve equality for all,’ Dame Ruth wrote. ‘We celebrate the diversity of our workforce.’

She added: ‘As we reflect on the important history of the Windrush generation, I want to share my thanks. From those who arrived in the UK 75 years ago today and in the years that followed, to successive generations who continue to make a vital contribution to the NHS and beyond – thank you.’

Meanwhile, Bruno Daniel, RCN diversity and equalities coordinator, said: ‘We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the courageous women and men who travelled to the UK as part of the Windrush generation. Our NHS, and our society are richer for their incredible, ongoing contributions.’

And RCN president, Sheilabye Sobrany posted on Twitter: ‘Thank you to all those who crossed the oceans of the Windrush Generation on June 22 1948.

‘Many came to support the NHS, gifting a phenomenal legacy for international nurses, midwives and doctors who follow in your footsteps.’

In addition, chief executive of the QNI Dr Crystal Oldman wrote on Twitter: ‘Today we celebrate Windrush Day, and we honour the amazing contribution of the Windrush generation in nursing in the community and primary care.’

Health and social care secretary Steve Barclay also recognised the ‘key part’ the Windrush generation played in NHS history. ‘Thank you to all our staff from around the world,’ he said on Twitter.

See how our symptom tool can help you make better sense of patient presentations
Click here to search a symptom