Filipino nurses mark 20th anniversary of hospital recruitment drive

Two decades ago they answered the call

Thursday, 26th August 2021 — By Tom Foot

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The big arrival the NHS went searching for nurses

A TEAM of nurses who travelled more than 6,700 miles to join the Royal Free marked a 20-year anniversary this week.

Aged 27, Maria Jeralyn Montes-Pagcu was one of 15 health workers recruited as part of a national drive 20 years ago from Manila in the Philippines.

She is now a clinical nurse specialist in gynaecologic oncology at the Hampstead hospital.

She said: “I’ve always felt encouraged to take opportunities available to me – hard work, passion and upholding work values are the key to success.”

Ten of the nurses are still at the Free

Maria Jeralyn Montes-Pagcu 

She recalled being shown around Hampstead for the first time, taking public transport and being advised where to shop.

Of the 2001 nurse cohort, 10 from 15 nurses are still working in the hospital.

“I’m so proud to work for the NHS – it’s a wonderful service and I’m so grateful for it,” she said.

The Royal Free said it was “proud to welcome staff from all four corners of the globe”, adding: “Our staff represent 119 different nationalities and we would like to say a huge thank you to all of our staff for their hard work, commitment and dedication

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