Ethnic minority medical staff in Britain honoured in NHS Windrush Awards
2018-08-01 11:25:49 -
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A mother and daughter who have dedicated their working lives to the NHS were among the black and ethnic minority NHS staff who were honoured as part of NHS England’s Windrush 70 Awards.

Winners of the prestigious awards include retired nurse Beatrice Akyeampong, who was recognised alongside her daughter Dr Vanessa Apea, a sexual health consultant, for their tireless work to improve health inequalities. 

Dr Sanjeev Nayak, a consultant interventional neuro-radiologist and Dennis Singson, a community mental health nurse, were also given awards for their outstanding contributions to Britain’s National Health Service.

More than 11,000 members of the public, patients and staff nominated NHS staff for the NHS Windrush 70 Awards, which marked the 70th anniversary of the arrival of Empire Windrush and also the 70th birthday of the NHS.

In a recorded message played at the awards ceremony, British Prime Minister Theresa May paid tribute to the award winners, saying: “Without you, there is no NHS and we treasure you every bit as much as the NHS itself.”

Speaking at the ceremony, Yvonne Coghill, director of the Workforce Race Equality Standard at NHS England, said: “The contributions of black and minority ethnic staff to the NHS over the past seven decades cannot be overstated. The inspirational winners of the NHS 70 Windrush Awards exemplify the very best of the NHS and all it stands for.”

Simon Stevens, chief executive, NHS England, added: “Since its founding in 1948, people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds have played a huge part in shaping the health service and remain a crucial part of our NHS.”

A special recognition award was presented to 92-year-old Alford Gardner, who travelled as a passenger on Empire Windrush on 22 June 1948, by Lord Victor Adebowale.

The ceremony also recognised the significant contribution to race equality in the NHS of three health service representatives — with Yvonne Coghill, head of the Workforce Race Equality Standard, Lord Victor Adebowale and Jane Cummings, chief nurse for the NHS, all given special recognition honours.

The Rising Stars innovation award, sponsored by NHS Digital, went to Ghazala Yasin, cardiology nurse consultant and nurse angiographer with the Buckinghamshire NHS trust, while the operational service excellence award, sponsored by public service union Unison, was presented to Evelyn Beckley, patients’ affairs officer in South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

The clinical excellence award for medics, sponsored by the British Medical Association, was received by Dr Sanjeev Nayak, consultant interventional neuro-radiologist at the University Hospitals of North Midlands.

Among may other recipients on the day was Judith Fairweather, mental health nurse and deputy director of contracting North and East London Commissioning Support Unit, who won the Unsung Hero award sponsored by The Guardian newspaper, while the NHS lifetime achievement award, sponsored by NHS England, was presented to Comfort Offorjindu, retired nurse with Whittington Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Rose Obianwu
NHS England
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