Queen’s Birthday Honours: Islington healthcare staff receive gongs for Covid-19 response

Islington's Felicia Margaret Kwaku, Associate Director of Nursing, Kings College NHS Foundation Tru

Islington's Felicia Margaret Kwaku, Associate Director of Nursing, Kings College NHS Foundation Trust, who has been awarded an OBE for services to nursing. Picture: Felicia Kwaku/PA Wire - Credit: PA

An Islington nurse, two Whittington Health staff and Jeremy Corbyn’s former diary manager are among those with Islington connections to receive gongs in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Felicia Kwaku, who lives in the borough, is associate director of nursing at King’s College NHS Trust – and she’s now also been made an OBE for her services to nursing over the past three decades.

The 52-year-old has been honoured after a year which saw her support thousands of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) nurses by delivering webinars during the height of the pandemic.

She said it was “timely and appropriate” that BAME people were recognised for their efforts during Black History Month.

“You can’t ignore the significant number of nurses and midwives who have died, and a significant number of them are from BAME backgrounds,” she said.

READ MORE: Islington entrepreneur kickstarts business to boost health and beauty industry“You can’t ignore the fact people have laid down their lives during this pandemic, it is only right, proper and fitting to honour them and honour those who continue to serve.”

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Miss Kwaku has also championed the cause of Filipino nurses and raised issues about the unsuitability of PPE designed for white men but which does not fit some Asian members of NHS staff.

She continued: “It’s my responsibility to represent my profession really well, and for BAME people who don’t get to these levels a lot it’s a real privilege for me.”

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Meanwhile, Jessica Horne, the Whittington’s clinical lead for respiratory physiotherapy has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for her work at the hospital on the frontline of the pandemic.

Another to get the BEM is Jeremy Corbyn’s former diary manager Ayse Funda Veli. Ms Veli was awarded this for her political service.

The list was delayed from its traditional June date this year as the government wished to be able to commemorate the astonishing community work seen during the coronavirus crisis so far.

National figures include north London actor Maureen Lipman – now in possession of a damehood – along with the creators of the GoodSam volunteering app and fitness guru Joe Wicks have also scooped honours this year, along with a number of senior medics and infection experts.

This year also sees 13 per cent of awards given to BAME people, the highest proportion ever.

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