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Contribution of Caribbean and African nurses celebrated in new documentary

New BBC4 documentary tells the story of the thousands of women from the Caribbean and Africa who answered the call 70 years ago to come to the UK to save the then ailing health service.

The untold story of thousands of women who travelled from the Caribbean and Africa to work as nurses and midwives in post-war Britain is told in a new documentary.

Black Nurses, part of the BBCs Black and British season, looks at the experience of nurses, midwives and auxiliaries who travelled to the UK to help build the new NHS.

Over the two decades from 1949, the NHS recruited staff from former British colonies in the Caribbean.

The BBC said the programme, due to be shown on BBC4 on 24 November at 9pm, would show the impact moving has had on the young women. Many were teenagers who left their friends, family and culture behind.

Unseen archives

It is a story of ambition, survival, integration and, ultimately,

The untold story of thousands of women who travelled from the Caribbean and Africa to work as nurses and midwives in post-war Britain is told in a new documentary.

Beverley’s passport (Beverley Chapman nee Davies)
The passport of Beverley Chapman (née Davies), who features in the documentary. 
Picture: BBC

Black Nurses, part of the BBC’s Black and British season, looks at the experience of nurses, midwives and auxiliaries who travelled to the UK to help build the new NHS.

Over the two decades from 1949, the NHS recruited staff from former British colonies in the Caribbean. 

The BBC said the programme, due to be shown on BBC4 on 24 November at 9pm, would show the impact moving has had on the young women. Many were teenagers who left their friends, family and culture behind.

Unseen archives

‘It is a story of ambition, survival, integration and, ultimately, triumph told for the first time by the women themselves and never-before-seen archive’ the BBC said.

It examines what post-war Britain made of the NHS staff from the Caribbean, their impact on British society and cultural legacy both here and abroad.

The documentary will look at their battle to overcome racism, fight for career progression and battle for national recognition.

 

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