Hundreds of Filipino nurses have reported a rise in discrimination and racist attacks in the week after articles in the Daily Mail newspaper attacked Filipino workers.
The racist headline on its spread complained, “NHS still hiring Filipino nurses” after nurse Victorino Chua was found guilty of murdering two patients and poisoning 19 more.
Glenda is a nurse from the Philippines who works in a London hospital. She told Socialist Worker, “One Filipino nurse was walking to work and someone shouted ‘Killer’ at her. Another was asked by a patient if she was ‘safe’.
“How long will this go on for?”
Nurses reported their worries on a Facebook page showing the Mail spread. It has become an organising hub for those angered by its prejudice.
Sakina works in Guy’s and St Thomas’ in south London. She told Socialist Worker, “When Andrew Hutchinson was convicted for raping all those patients, people didn’t say he was a ‘British nurse’. Why say Victorino Chua was a ‘Filipino nurse’.”
Sakina said, “To say ‘We’re not going to hire Filipino nurses’ is racist.
“But it’s also part of the bigger picture, with people saying ‘we don’t want any more foreigners’.”
Glenda said, “It’s about more than just one article. The Daily Mail has always been attacking ethnic minorities and it could attack other groups.
“There’s a hint of it coinciding with government plans. They’re not shy on clamping down on immigration and they’re getting rid of human rights.”
This bigotry fits neatly with the way the Tories are ramping up racism against migrant workers.
Sakina said, “The NHS’s workforce is migrant. When I’m on shift there’s sometimes no English people at all.
“I know that the hospital administrators are in the Philippines now hiring nurses.”
Glenda explained, “There’s already a big scarcity of nurses—and the nurse to patient ratio is getting bigger. Nursing isn’t just about meds, we have to perform our duty holistically.
“But how can you sit by a patient, give them medication, change the bed sheets, make sure they’re OK and do all the documentation?
“There are not enough staff—if they stopped us coming that would get worse.
Sakina said, “This is my home and my life—I’m not going anywhere.”
Glenda added, “We’ve been maligned and singled out. It’s high time we responded—that’s why we’re holding a rally outside the Daily Mail offices on Saturday.”