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The Jamaican High Commission in London was the venue for the re-launch of the Mary Seacole Leadership and Development Award, recently. The award, which is for Black and Minority Ethnic staff, is supported and funded by the Department of Health with the four main nursing, midwifery and health visiting professional bodies. It is a nationally recognised Health Service award and funds research in a range of related health issues.
Acting High Commissioner, Sharon Saunders, who welcomed the re-launch, said she was pleased that the award was named in memory of an outstanding Jamaican.
“The High Commission is particularly pleased that this nationally recognised Health Service award ceremony is in the name of an outstanding Jamaican and we see it as a wonderful tribute to Mary Seacole, as it recognises her contribution to the health care sector. Like me, all Jamaicans are delighted and have watched with great interest as Mary Seacole has finally started to receive the proper recognition she deserves, not as a whimsical footnote to European history, but as an important historical figure in her own right,” she said.
“Mary Seacole has always been regarded as a pioneer in virtually every aspect of her life. in medicine, in business and even simply in the matter of self-actualisation. When you take all this in the context of where and when she lived, it is impossible to overstate her bravery and what a trailblazer she really was. Hers is a legacy that must never be forgotten,” Mrs. Saunders added.
Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) Commissioner, Gloria Mills said that it was right and proper that the Mary Seacole Leadership and Development Award re-launch was taking place at the Jamaican High Commission.
“It is right and proper that it is taking place at this venue; it is a feeling of coming home. The award is not just to remember but to recognise the impact that Black and Minority Ethnic staff has had on the national health service over several generations, overcoming many obstacles,” she said.
The award is open to Black and Minority Ethnic nurses, midwives and health visitors in clinical and professional practice in the national health service to support them in forwarding their practice and careers. The award provides opportunities for successful applicants to undertake a project, or other educational/development research, to enhance patient/client-focused care.
Mary Seacole is well known and revered in many sectors of the United Kingdom society for her work in nursing British soldiers during the Crimean War.