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Black and Minority Ethnic NHS Staff Honoured in the NHS Windrush 70 Awards

Staff from across the NHS in east London were honoured for their service at the recent NHS Windrush 70 Awards.

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

On the night accolades were given to retired nurse Beatrice Akyeampong, who was recognised alongside her daughter, Dr Vanessa Apea, a sexual health consultant at Barts Health NHS Trust, for their tireless work to improve health inequalities. Beatrice, originally from Ghana, enjoyed a long and successful nursing career worked at Barking Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, where she was driven by her need to ensure equitable access to care for all of her patients, no matter their background.

Beatrice’s daughter Vanessa was born in The Royal London Hospital where she later trained as a specialist registrar and in 2011 was appointed as a Consultant in Sexual Health and HIV Medicine, having obtained her Master of Public Health from Harvard University as a Fulbright scholar that same year.

Judith Fairweather, Mental Health Nurse and Deputy Director,  north east London commissioning support unit was honoured in the Unsung Hero Award category for her work around eliminating stigma for marginalised people.

Judith’s parents came to the UK in 1960, skilled workers who had to settle for manual work. Their experience of discrimination influenced Judith in wanting to bring about change and equality.

She joined the NHS in 1986, qualifying as a nurse in 1990. Judith specialised in mental health, latterly with South West London and St George’s. There, she led in calling for action to help BME staff break through the glass ceiling, working with the Trust’s Chair. She also set up a BME forum to hear stories from different cultures, develop shared understanding and build relationships.

She took commissioners and directors on a journey of listening to patients and over 100 faith groups and voluntary organisations to shape services that met local needs.

Dr Bijay Sinha: Consultant Physician, Barts Health NHS Trust won the BME Inspirational Leader award.

Dr Sinha is always curious about how to improve services and patient care, making sure that his behaviour reflects the principles and values of NHS.

He always tries to understand the underlying emotions that might affect his team, care for team members as individual, helping them focusing their energy on delivering a great service that results in care for patients. He manages to convey a vivid and attractive picture of what everyone is working towards in a clear, consistent and honest way.

Congratulations to all our winners.