Wigan borough hospitals celebrate South Asian heritage month

Wigan borough hospitals are celebrating the contributions of their staff with South Asian heritage.

By Holly Pritchard
Sunday, 24th July 2022, 3:45 pm

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) is taking part in festivities which are part of a national heritage month which running until August 17, and was first celebrated back in 2020.

WWL boasts staff with backgrounds from no fewer than 64 nations of the world and several here speak of both their origins and their work in the borough.

The trust is taking the coming weeks to recognise and honour the hard work of its valued staff who hail from countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Akshaya Rose Jacob, Joby Mathew and Jitin Joseph George celebrating South Asian Heritage Month at WWL.

Akshaya Rose Jacob, a staff nurse on Shevington ward at the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary (RAEI), is originally from Thiruvalla in South India and spoke on why she wanted to work for the NHS, and what it means to be a part of the WWL family.

Akshaya, said: “It has been a great pleasure working at WWL. I get to learn different things every day and it is a platform to grow my knowledge and skills.

“The NHS is the leading health care sector and it is great to be a part of it.”

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Joby Mathew, a registered nurse in theatre recovery and an anaesthetic trainee at Wigan Infirmary, moved to the UK from Southern India three years ago. He speaks of his pride in where he comes from and how he became interested in working in the NHS.

Joby, said: “I was born in a place called Wayand, a beautiful district in the state of Kerala, which is situated in the southern part of India.

“Kerala, a land of cultural diversity, is completely made up of a blend of various religions, communities, regional cultures and language variations.

“The NHS is one of the largest health care systems in the world which always puts patients first and the staff go above and beyond to meet their needs.”

The dates of this national celebration began on July 18, because that was the date when the Indian Independence Act gained royal assent from King George VI in 1947.

The date on which the festivities is also important because it marks the publication of the Radcliffe Line in 1947, which set the borders between India, West Pakistan and East Pakistan, now known as Bangladesh.

Jitin Joseph George, a registered nurse working on Wigan Infirmary’s Winstanley ward, said: “I was born in the city of Lucknow in India and have worked for WWL for almost two years.

"Working for the oldest and one of the largest healthcare organisations in the world makes me feel proud.”

Toria King, workforce equality, diversity and inclusion lead at WWL, said: “We are very proud as a trust to have people from 64 different nationalities working with us.

"Of these, many stafff members are from South Asian countries and we really wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate and learn about their heritage throughout this South Asian Heritage Month.

"I’m really grateful to Akshaya, Jitin and Joby for sharing their stories.”