The 75th anniversary of Windrush and the impact it had on the NHS.

Published by RCEM Comms on

Dr Anukiran Ravichandran, EM ST3 and member of our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee writes today about the 75th anniversary of Windrush and the impact it had on the NHS.

Today, we join the nation in commemorating Windrush Day, a day that holds immense significance in recognising the invaluable contributions of the Windrush generation to the NHS and British society as a whole. The impact of this generation has been far-reaching, shaping our healthcare system and paving the way for a more diverse and inclusive workforce. As we come together to honour Windrush Day, we reflect on the impact and significance of this occasion. At the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, we pay tribute to the extraordinary contributions and resilience of the Windrush generation and their descendants.

The numbers tell a powerful story of the ongoing impact of the Windrush generation within the NHS. Between 1948 and 1971, over 18,000 nurses and midwives from the Caribbean responded to the call to come and work in the NHS, offering their skills, compassion, and dedication to the British public. These individuals played an instrumental role in addressing the post-war healthcare crisis and establishing the foundations of the NHS we know today. They were pioneers who faced many challenges but persevered, leaving an indelible mark on our healthcare system. Equally, Caribbean-born doctors represented 4% of the total medical workforce in 1961.

The Windrush75 organisation highlights that over 11,000 NHS workers were born in the Caribbean. This figure demonstrates the extent to which the Windrush Generation has shaped the NHS and its commitment to providing high-quality healthcare to all. However, it is crucial to acknowledge the injustices and hardships that the Windrush generation and their descendants have endured. The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, highlighted the devastating consequences of a hostile environment policy that affected thousands of people. Those who had arrived in the UK legally were wrongfully targeted and faced issues with immigration documentation, despite their longstanding contributions to British society. Windrush Day serves as a poignant reminder of the shared history between the Caribbean community and the NHS. It is an opportunity to recognize and appreciate the invaluable contributions made by those who arrived on the MV Empire Windrush and subsequent voyages.

As an organisation dedicated to emergency medicine, we believe in fairness, equality, and justice for all. The Windrush generation, despite the adversity they faced, have continued to play an integral role in the NHS. Windrush 75, an initiative celebrating the contributions of this generation, emphasises the ongoing influence of the Windrush era in shaping the NHS workforce and fostering diversity. Today, over 23% of the NHS workforce consists of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff, a testament to the lasting impact of the Windrush generation and subsequent generations who have followed in their footsteps.

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine, in its commitment to diversity and inclusivity, recognizes and celebrates the contributions of BAME staff. Their dedication, resilience, and diverse perspectives enrich our healthcare settings, improve patient outcomes, and foster a more culturally sensitive and responsive healthcare service.  We strive to create a diverse workforce that reflects the communities we serve, ensuring equitable opportunities and support for all aspiring emergency medicine professionals.

Today, as we remember the Windrush generation, let us also acknowledge the importance of continued efforts to create an inclusive and equitable healthcare environment. By embracing diversity, fostering cultural competency, and addressing systemic inequalities, we can build a healthcare system that is truly representative of the communities it serves. We extend our gratitude to the Windrush generation and their descendants for their immeasurable contributions to the NHS and our society. Let us continue to honour their legacy by working together to create a healthcare system that uplifts and values every individual, regardless of their background or heritage.

1 Comment

Sains Data · July 2, 2023 at 12:55 pm

what is the meaning of Windrush Day?

Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.