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NHS Windrush 70 Awards winners represent the ‘best of the NHS’

‘We treasure you as much as the NHS itself’, PM Theresa May tells Windrush Awards winners

‘We treasure you as much as the NHS itself’, prime minister Theresa May tells Windrush Awards winners


Mother and daughter award winners Beatrice Akyeampong and Vanessa Apea

Nurses' achievements were at the forefront of the NHS England’s Windrush awards in Manchester on June 12.

The event marked the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the ship Empire Windrush, which brought workers from Caribbean countries to the UK – as well as the start of the NHS. 

More than 11,000 members of the public nominated black and minority ethnic (BME) NHS staff for 11 award categories.

Examples of nursing excellence

Although there was only one dedicated nursing category, six nurses received awards – two retired nurses, a cardiology nurse consultant, a matron for oncology and haematology and two mental health nurses.

Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT) matron for oncology and haematology Doreen Black won the top leadership category.

‘With support, staff will deliver care, that is kind, caring, safe and effective’

Doreen Black


Doreen Black

Ms Black said she was 'over the moon' to win and said previous generations of BME staff in the NHS had left a legacy for others to build on.

She said: 'My desire has always been to ensure the highest possible care for patients. With support, staff attain their full potential and will deliver care, that is kind, caring, safe and effective.'

The clinical excellence award for nursing catergory winner was community mental health nurse and nurse prescriber Dennis Singson of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. 

‘Contribution of BME staff to the NHS over the past seven decades cannot be overstated’

Yvonne Coghill

Other nurses who took home awards were, cardiology nurse consultant and nurse angiographer Ghazala Yasin, who won an innovation award, mental health nurse Judith Fairweather who took home the 'unsung hero' award, and retired nurse Comfort Offorjindu who won an NHS lifetime achievement award.

Retired nurse Beatrice Akyeampong shared an aware for addressing health inequalities with her daughter, sexual health consultant, Vanessa Apea.

Inspirational winners

NHS England's director of the workforce race equality standard implementation programme Yvonne Coghill 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 Windrush 70 Awards exemplify the best of the NHS.'

Ms Coghill, who was a CBE in this year's Queen's Birthday Honours for her services to racial equality in the NHS, was given a special recognition award, alongside outgoing chief nurse for England Jane Cummings.

In a recorded message played at the ceremony, prime minister Theresa May told the winners: 'Without you, there is no NHS and we treasure you every bit as much as the NHS itself.'

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: '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 June 22 1948.

NHS Windrush 70 Awards winners

  • Rising stars innovation Ghazala Yasin, cardiology nurse consultant and nurse angiographer, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Operational service excellence Evelyn Beckley, patients’ affairs officer, South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • Clinical excellence award for medics Dr Sanjeev Nayak, consultant interventional neuro-radiologist, University Hospitals of North Midlands
  • Clinical excellence award for nursing Dennis Singson, community mental health nurse and nurse prescriber, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • Clinical excellence award for allied health professionals Kashmira Sangle, physiotherapist and clinical lead, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
  • Top leadership Doreen Black, matron for oncology and haematology, Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust
  • Research and policy development Dr Amos Burke, associate director, National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network for Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • BME inspirational leader Dr Bijay Sinha, consultant physician, Barts Health NHS Trust
  • Contributing towards improving health inequalities Beatrice Akyeampong, retired nurse, Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust and Dr Vanessa Apea, sexual health consultant, Barts Health NHS Trust
  • Unsung hero Judith Fairweather, mental health nurse and deputy director of contracting, North and East London Commissioning Support Unit
  • NHS lifetime achievement Comfort Offorjindu, retired nurse, Whittington Health NHS Trust, London


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