Home Health Unveiling the Compassionate Heroes – Filipino Health Workers Shaping UK’s Health Service

Unveiling the Compassionate Heroes – Filipino Health Workers Shaping UK’s Health Service

Filipino Health Workers Shaping UK's Health Service_v2
Photo courtesy of PH Embassy in UK Facebook Page

MANILA – Filipino medical professionals, particularly nurses, have long been recognized for their exceptional compassion and care, making them invaluable contributors to the United Kingdom’s health service. Their impact is felt by the British people, many of whom have encountered Filipino healthcare workers in one way or another.

During a recent press conference held in the Cordillera region, Iain Cox, the political counsellor of the British Embassy in Manila, opened up about his personal experience with a Filipino nurse who provided care for his mother during her battle with cancer. Cox expressed his immense gratitude for the nurse’s dedication and the profound impact she had on his family during a difficult period. His story serves as a testament to the direct experiences that countless individuals in the UK have had with Filipino medical professionals.

Cox revealed that approximately 20 percent of the 250,000 Filipino workers in the UK are employed in the medical field, highlighting the significant reliance on their services to deliver healthcare in the country. Their presence extends beyond the confines of hospitals and clinics, as the average person in the UK is likely to know a Filipino or have some knowledge about the Philippines, largely due to the interactions they have had with Filipino medical workers. These encounters serve as crucial people-to-people exchanges, enabling individuals to gain insight into Filipino culture and leaving a lasting impression of compassion and care.

Recognizing the vital contribution of Filipino workers to the UK’s economy, Cox emphasized the high regard and respect they command for their work, particularly within the national health service sector. Many Filipino medical professionals were at the forefront of the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrating their unwavering commitment and playing a pivotal role in combating the virus. Their dedication did not go unnoticed, as even King Charles, then a prince, expressed gratitude to Filipinos for their patience during the trying times of the pandemic.

The admiration for Filipino medical professionals extends beyond their daily responsibilities, with several individuals receiving prestigious accolades in the UK. Among them is nurse May Parsons, a graduate of the University of Santo Tomas, who administered the first COVID-19 vaccine in Great Britain on December 8, 2020. Parsons, who has resided in the UK for 21 years, was honored with the George Cross award by the late Queen Elizabeth II in 2022, becoming the first Filipino to receive the highest civilian honor in the country.

Amidst the pandemic, nurse Lani Ortega, 51, made the life-changing decision to pursue a career in the UK. Despite her age, she found the transition manageable, thanks to the support and assistance provided to new nurses in the UK. Ortega emphasized the strict adherence to protocols, which ensured her professional protection and safety. She plans to return home this year to bring her minor son to the UK, assuring him that despite the change in environment and language, everything will be alright. Ortega’s decision to embark on this journey was influenced by her nurse friends, who highlighted the promising prospects, especially for single mothers like herself.

Reflecting on her late entry into the UK, Ortega expressed no regrets, knowing that her son will reap the benefits of her decision. Her story mirrors the experiences of many Filipino medical professionals who have found fulfillment and success in the UK, and serves as an inspiration for others contemplating a similar path.

The compassionate nature and exceptional skills of Filipino medical professionals have firmly established them as pillars of the UK health service. Through their dedicated service and unwavering commitment, they have made a profound impact on the lives of countless individuals and communities in the UK. Their contributions are not only recognized and respected but also woven into the fabric of British society, fostering cultural understanding and appreciation. As the world continues to grapple with global health challenges, the unwavering spirit of Filipino medical professionals will undoubtedly continue to shine brightly, illuminating the path towards a healthier and more compassionate world.