Thursday 21 June, 2018

St Lucia Windrush daughter honoured by Queen

(Marie Gabriel, in image provided by East London NHS Foundation Trust)

(Marie Gabriel, in image provided by East London NHS Foundation Trust)

The daughter of a man who travelled from St Lucia as part of the Windrush generation has been awarded a CBE in Queen Elizabeth’s Birthday Honours.

Marie Gabriel is chair of East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT), which provides a range of health services in several London boroughs.

Under her, the ELFT had become the only trust in London judged by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to be “outstanding”, as well as the only “outstanding” mental health and community health trust in the country, a press release said.

Gabriel, who grew up in London’s East End, said she wanted to dedicate her award “to all the NHS staff that I have worked with, particularly the Windrush generation, which included my dad who travelled from St Lucia to start a new life in England”.

“I am immensely proud of my heritage and proud of the contribution the Windrush generation and their descendants have made to a modern, effective and diverse NHS.”

The British government has been embroiled in a row over its treatment of members of the Windrush generation in recent months. Scores found themselves forced to prove their right to be in the UK, were blocked from work and even threatened with deportation, despite having the right to remain, under the government’s “hostile” immigration policy.

The British government has since apologised and says it is working to address the problems and compensate those whose lives have been badly affected.

ELFT Chief Executive Dr Navina Evans said Marie Gabriel was “an extraordinary leader who fully deserves this recognition”.

The release said Gabriel had played a defining role in how the NHS – Britain’s public health service – worked with patients, secured equality and improved services.

She was “particularly concerned to support others to achieve positions of influence and leadership, especially women and those from BME groups or from less advantaged backgrounds”, the release said.

In a tweet, ELFT described Gabriel as inspirational. “We are proud and delighted to see her dedication to the NHS and equality recognised,” it said.