News and Events

Nurturing The Nation, the Asian contribution to the NHS since 1948

13 November 2013


Almost a third of NHS workers are not born in the UK. At a time when there is an increasingly negative policy focus on issues of racism, migration and health, Runnymede is launching a new book that shines a light on the important contribution made to the NHS by its Asian employees.

'Nurturing the Nation: The Asian contribution to the NHS since 1948' looks at the lives and careers of Asian employees at all levels of the NHS, focusing on 40 NHS workers, who came to work in the UK from various parts of the world, and the amazing experiences that they have to share. The book provides as opportunity to celebrate the essential role our multi-ethnic society plays in public services.

The book profiles nurses and midwives from Mauritius, Trinidad and Malaysia, doctors and dentists from India, Kenya, and Singapore and psychiatrists and therapists from Pakistan. Nurturing the Nation: launch of the Asian Contribution to the NHS since 1948 follows from ‘Many Rivers to Cross: The History of the Caribbean Contribution to the NHS’, published in 2006.

The book explores experiences of racial discrimination felt by Asian workers in the NHS and the attitudes of patients towards them.

Case studies include Kuldip Bharj, Senior lecturer in Midwifery who said  “A couple had said they didn’t want to be cared for by Asians or Black people. The night got very busy, the woman went into established labour, I went in and assisted her to birth and afterwards her partner came in and gave me a big hug. In the staff room the Sister said she was surprised he gave me a kiss and that’s when I found out that they didn’t want to be cared for by Asians.”

Nagendra Sarmah, retired GP speaking about the 1970s “I was a foreign Indian doctor and the chairman, secretary and other doctors didn’t help me. By the time I came, and because patients are given a choice, about 100 patients left because I had joined the practice.”

The book is available to download from the Nurturing The Nation website.


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