Migrants have played a key role in the NHS ever since its creation. Today, around a quarter of NHS staff are non-British nationals or from a minority ethnic background, rising to around a third of nurses and health visitors and almost half of doctors. Many have found themselves working on the frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic. A disproportionate number have lost their lives.
NHS workers have been painted as heroes during the pandemic. But the day-to-day experience has been far more complicated. For the large number of foreign-born and minority ethnic workers across the healthcare sector, it has been a time of pride – but also of confusion and exhaustion, and concern for their patients, families and friends.