Francis Fernando: named as one of the most influential BAME leaders in health

Francis Fernando, one of the founders of Filipino Nurses Association UK, has been recognised as a runner-up in the BAME50, the Health Service Journal’s (HSJ) list of the most influential BAME leaders in health. The selection was made by a panel of 16 distinguished judges.

He is the only Filipino to have been nominated to this prestigious list. The HSJ provides news and insight for leaders in the UK healthcare sector.

The HSJ judges cited how “Mr Fernando has almost single-handedly highlighted the hugely disproportionate death toll among Filipino nurses in the UK during the covid pandemic.”

At the height of the pandemic between April and May when a high number of Filipino healthcare workers were dying because of or in relation to coronavirus, Fernando, an active Twitter user, started calling the attention of authorities to the situation of Filipino healthcare workers.

In his message to Tinig UK, Fernando says that that “I dedicate this recognition to my family, friends, to my 57 colleagues who lost their lives due to Covid-19 here in the UK.

“I was just doing my job as a Filipino healthcare leader in the midst of this pandemic. I was not expecting to be rewarded for it. But very grateful and I will continue to be a voice for the voiceless together with my colleagues at the Filipino Nurses Association UK.”

He became the face of the Filipino nursing community on national television, giving interviews to leading broadcasters and offering his analyses of why Filipinos were being disproportionately affected by Covid-19.

I was just doing my job as a Filipino healthcare leader in the midst of this pandemic. I was not expecting to be rewarded for it. But very grateful and I will continue to be a voice for the voiceless together with my colleagues at the Filipino Nurses Association UK.

Fernando arrived in the UK in 2000, working as a staff nurse at the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Injuries Unit in Salisbury. In 2012, he won the prestigious NHS Clinical Leaders Network and Aqua Henderson Quality Award for his work with patients with hip fractures in Salisbury. He was the first nurse in the UK to be given the award.

As a nurse, he has been interested in equality and diversity issues, becoming the first Filipino to become a member of the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) BAME Advisory Group.

Fernando will soon be taking up the post of Head of Nursing in Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust.