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Celebrating Windrush

This week marks 75 years since HMT Empire Windrush arrived in the UK. To mark this important occasion, the NHS is celebrating its diverse workforce with a series of events.

The arrival of the Empire Windrush preceded the launch of the NHS by just two weeks, with many passengers going on to take up roles in the health service.

‘The 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Windrush is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the work of our Black and other ethnic minority colleagues and their significant contributions to the National Health Service, which is also marking its 75th year,’ says chief executive of NHS England Amanda Pritchard.

Events celebrating the anniversary will be taking place across the UK this week. Tomorrow on Windrush Day itself (Thursday 22 June) St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, is hosting a celebration free to NHS staff. They invite colleagues to come and learn more about the history of Windrush, to network, and get involved in the celebrations.

Other organisations hosting events this week include the Caribbean and African Health Network (CAHN). CAHN aim to eradicate health disparities for Caribbean and African people in the UK through education and support. They are holding a Windrush 75 event this Saturday in Manchester.

Also on Saturday, the Southport African Caribbean Heritage Association (SACHA) will be hosting a Caribbean Carnival themed event, bringing together representatives from the NHS, NWAS, Merseyside Police, and others. It will be free to attend at Southport Town Hall Gardens.

An annual report earlier this year revealed the NHS workforce is more diverse than at any other point in its history. The analysis found that almost a third of nurses, midwives, and health visitors are from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds; as are 42% of doctors, dentists, and consultants.

Yet there is still ‘significant room for improvement to change the experience of Black and ethnic minority staff,’ Amanda Pritchard acknowledged at the time.

For all events, visit

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