In April 2001, over 35 nurses made the long journey from the Philippines to Buckinghamshire to start a new life. They were the first cohort of Filipino nurses to come to Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust (BHT) and a further eight nurses joined in September 2001.
Two decades later, over 30 nurses from the two cohorts still work across the Trust and are key members of the local Filipino community. The community has grown considerably and in October 2020 the Kalinga Bucks Filipino Health Professional Organisation was launched. There are currently over 200 members and the organisation is open to all Filipino healthcare professionals who live and work within Buckinghamshire.
On 1 April 2021, 20 years after their arrival in Buckinghamshire, the cohort will be celebrating their 20th anniversary of nursing in the UK.
Mary Genito, Vice President of the Kalinga Bucks Filipino Health Professional Organisation and ICU Sister said: “It feels like it was just yesterday, but it’s been 20 years. It has been a great experience and I’ve had the opportunity to progress in my nursing career with the support of wonderful colleagues. I’ve seen the hospital and Trust transform and I’m proud to have worked for BHT all this time, I wouldn’t change it for anything.”
Edmund Tabay, who was in the first cohort of nurses to join the Trust, and is now Deputy Chief Nurse The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust said: “Arriving in Aylesbury in the Spring of 2001 has been one of my memorable experiences personally and professionally. I am very grateful for the opportunities given to me whilst working at BHT and those “formative years” as a UK nurse has been instrumental to my development as a nurse leader. It is with immense pride that we have achieved this significant milestone – 20 years in the NHS. For those who are still working at BHT, I take my hat off to all of you, clearly this is testament of your commitment to the organisation.”
Karen Bonner, Chief Nurse at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust said: “These nurses are the backbone of the NHS and twenty years ago made the difficult decision to leave loved ones and travel hundreds of miles to a new country in the pursuit of providing care. Thank you for your hard work, dedication and commitment to the Trust over the last two decades, it’s an amazing achievement and milestone to reach.”