Monday 23rd March – the day will forever be a significant day in British history as it was arguably the defining turning point in the coronavirus pandemic, with Boris Johnson announcing a lockdown for at least three weeks. This lockdown is not only for the sake of the elderly, those with compromised immune systems or underlying health conditions. It is for the sake of our National Health Service, the NHS. Sadly, but perhaps unsurprisingly, after fifteen years of a Conservative government, the demand on the NHS is far greater than it can ever supply, and coronavirus has brought to the forefront the holes in an overstretched and underfunded system.
There is no doubt that every single medical and health professional deserves praise on a normal day, and especially during this pandemic. However, the media has whitewashed the face of NHS. Comedian Gina Yashere rightly pointed out that newspapers including the Metro, Mirror and others failed to include black and brown medical professionals in pictures, presenting a national health system that is completely unrecognisable for many of us. Women’s publication Grazia has been applauded for their recent cover showing four NHS workers, and while they had a woman of Asian descent on the cover, they failed to include one black female nurse or doctor. This lack of inclusion feels unfair at best, considering black nurses were the backbone to NHS system due to the Windrush Generation. So we decided to speak to some of the black female health professionals, working right now, during the greatest medical crisis that many of us have, and hopefully will ever, see.