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Sunday, June 21, 2015


This news from DailyMail UK:

NHS STILL hiring Filipino nurses despite Victorino Chua scandal: 

Recruiters fly out in desperate bid to fill hospital vacancies

  • Recruiters were still flying to the Philippines during Victorino Chua's trial
  • Scores of his compatriots were urged to fill vacancies at two UK hospitals
  • Mail has footage of Filipino nurses listening intently to a sales pitch given in March by a senior NHS official in Manila

British national, Malcolm Conlan who is married to a Filipina recently wrote to the Daily Mail about the stories it ran regarding the Victoriano Chua Case.
(image from Malcom Conlan FB Page)

To: Daily Mail Managing Editor
Subject: Why we should all be proud of our Filipino nurses

I have been deeply disturbed and worried over the recent coverage of the Victoriano Chua case by the Daily Mail and the constant references to his nationality.

I am of the opinion that the nationality of Chua is totally irrelevant. Would it have made any difference at all to those who he tragically killed and poisoned if he had been from any other nationality?

A crime is a crime, Chua should spend the rest of his life in prison, even then its not long enough. His crimes and indeed wicked acts have caused Filipino nurses all around the UK to experience racial discrimination. I have had reports from nurses who have been spat at, sworn at and even asked if they are related to Chua!. I also have been sent information that before starting a shift at a new hospital, some Filipina nurses have been asked what their nationality is?

Although I have no issues with nurses being asked during general 'getting to know you' conversations, but for it to be the first question asked as you walk through the door is concerning. 
Becoming a nurse in the Philippines as others have reported is not easy, first there are the 5 years of study, compared to the UK where the course is 3 years. I am not saying our British nurses are any less qualified, I am just making the point that becoming a nurse in the Philippines is not easy. Then once qualified, it is very difficult to actually get any practical ward experience, I have been sent stories of nurses actually having to pay hospitals for the right to volunteer, such is the shortage of places. 

When I was 19, I became sick whilst in the Philippines as was admitted to the Makati Medical Center. I was taken care of by Filipino nurses. I was washed, helped to dress and indeed nursed by many nurses. All took great care of me, all got to know me and I felt really privileged to be looked after.

I believe we are very grateful in the UK to have Filipino nurses here. You see leaving the Philippines to work abroad is often not a choice, but a necessity due to the lack of jobs and financial hardship experienced by many in the country.

Leaving your family and loved ones is already a massive sacrifice, coming to a foreign country, initially with no friends, working very long shifts, often with no break all to support their families and send money home each month.

With all of this in mind and the 300 million pounds a year which UNISON estimate that we save by employing Filipino nurses as opposed to using agency nurses, I believe the Daily Mail should get behind our Filipino nurses, instead of making their lives difficult and indeed exposing them to racist attacks as has been reported to me by Filipino healthcare workers around the UK.

The photo was taken at a London hospital recently by some nurses who as you can see have such lovely smiles and are genuinely lovely people. Thank you for the photo op.

I will not rest until the Filipino nurses and indeed the Filipino people get the apology they deserve.

The Daily Mail replied:

Dear Mr Conlan,

Thank you for your further e-mail. I am sorry to see that my response did not allay your concerns.

Firstly let me express how sorry I am to hear of the difficulties that Filipino nurses you know have suffered as a result of Victorino Chua’s crimes. Of course we have great respect for the many hard-working nurses of the NHS, of all nationalities. This, however, does not detract from the importance of reporting on the systemic failures in the recruitment of nurses from the Philippines or any other place the NHS recruits.

Likewise I am glad to hear you received such high quality care in the Philippines but this does not negate the fact that patients at Stepping Hill died. In fact they were poisoned by a man completely unfit to work in the medical profession no matter what his nationality.

You assert that it is not easy to become a qualified nurse in the Philippines, however our reporter Stephen Wright found the exact opposite to be true. For just £43 he was able to obtain the relevant false documents to apply to work for the NHS. Of course it is possible to obtain fake degrees in many countries but the fact remains that Mr Chua obtained faked papers from the Philippines and therefore scrutiny is currently focussed on applications from nurses from the Philippines. In the wake of this case we understand that the NHS will be examining applications from people from all other countries with similar care to ensure that it properly protects its patients.

It was never our aim, as you say, to make the lives of Filipino nurses difficult or expose them to racism. What is our aim is to expose wrongdoing and help in ensuring that someone like Mr Chua is never again allowed to care for sick and vulnerable people. I am sure you would agree that this is a cause worth pursuing.

As you may know, the Mail played a key role in bringing Mr Chua to justice. Detective Superintendent Simon Barraclough, who led the inquiry, praised the Daily Mail for alerting the Police to Mr Chua’s fabricated qualifications and the trade that had been revealed to exist in faked academic records in the Philippines.

DSI Barraclough said: ‘I would like to thank the Daily Mail for providing Greater Manchester Police with vital background information about Chua at a very early stage of our inquiry into him.

‘Recognising the importance of the case, and the wider issues of patient safety, Mail journalist Stephen Wright passed on concerns about Chua’s bona fides and the trade in nursing qualifications in the Philippines.

‘The information he passed on was invaluable. This is an example of how the media and the police can work together for the public good.’

I would also point out that, after taking part in the protest held on Saturday, Michael Duque, President of the Philippine Nurses Association of the UK, thanked the Mail for its efforts in exposing irregularities in the recruitment system which he says his organisation is now in the process of reviewing and strengthening. We are also aware that a Filipino recruitment firm is facing the loss of its contract with a top London hospital as a result of our investigation and one of its senior officials, who helped candidates for NHS jobs cheat in their exams, has left the firm.

For these reasons I cannot see that this article is in any way racist nor that the Daily Mail has failed in maintaining good journalistic standards. We therefore believe an apology for our coverage is not appropriate. As you are aware we have also carried a letter from you and other readers on this subject.

Again I would like to thank you for sending us your comments. Feedback from readers always helps to inform our journalists and the editorial decisions we take on a daily basis.

Yours sincerely

Charles Garside
Assistant Editor

Not sure if I should even post this haha...Just asked yesterday by Facebook message about why I love the Philippines, just couldn't stop thinking about the question and my response, so decided to make this. Hope its ok....
Posted by Malcolm Conlan Full on Saturday, March 28, 2015

In his Facebook page, Malcom Conlan wrote this
Image from Malcom Conlan Page

I have to admit I am not writing this blog out of choice. Its out of frustration really. You see the Filipino people are a lovely, kind, caring, happy, forgiving and understanding people in my opinion and I expect the opinion of millions of others around the globe. There are some eleven million Filipino workers worldwide who through their work consistently demonstrate many of the above characteristics.
I have hung around with Filipinos for most of my adult life and have through this time, witnessed all of the above traits. I do accept that that not everybody is perfect however. I also believe that to a certain extent through no fault of their own, everyone can be a little racist, (There is even a song bearing that exact same title from the musical Avenue Q) unkind, or cruel even realising and without ill intention. After all nobody is perfect!
However, imagine you were treated differently on a daily basis, imagine you were spoken down to, treated like you didn't understand English properly, spoken about behind your back. Imagine if you were reading the newspaper on the way to work, or watching your favourite comedy show, and you saw or heard 'jokes' about Filipinos, read newspaper headlines like 'NHS STILL hiring Filipino Nurses'
How would you feel? You see, you want to try to 'fit in' within the UK. You don't want to make a fuss. The Filipino attitude I guess can be to just move on and maybe leave it to God to judge or leave it to fate.
I seem to have been caught up now in many issues concerning racism or stereotypical views towards the Filipino people. Over the years, I have built up an audience on social media of many thousands of people, in fact I get messages on a regular basis, get tagged in issues of racist comments, jokes told at the expense of Filipinos. What I have noticed is that when these issues are brewing, I will get thousands of shares, comments etc about the issue. I will see hundreds of pages, tweets etc about the issue, a week later however, its all been brushed aside and the next issue pops up...
I know why, its because Filipinos just want to get on with their lives, jobs, families etc. I can't blame them.
However racism and prejudice towards the Filipino people will just continue and get worse even until the Filipino people themselves will make a stand. Of course I am always happy to and will continue to write letters, join protests, campaign etc, but in order for racism towards Filipinos to be addressed and recognised, it takes Filipinos themselves to act.
Which is why today, I am appealing to Filipino nurses, healthcare workers or indeed any Filipino worker who had experienced racism to report it. We can then follow up...
Just to make it very clear, the Daily Mail STILL has NOT apologised, we must not forget or sadly, racism towards the Filipino people, will happen time and time again, really sorry to say...

"Finally, I believe we, as a nation, are incredibly fortunate to have Filipino nurses in the United Kingdom. You see, every person I have ever spoken to always comments on how caring, hard working and dedicated Filipino nurses are. If God forbid, I ever become sick, I would consider myself lucky and fortunate to be cared for by a Filipino nurse." - Malcom Conlan