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Wirral University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Race Equality Week - Spotlight on multiculural colleagues

For #RaceEqualityWeek in February 2024 we shone a spotlight on some of our fantastic staff from diverse heritages, cultures and backgrounds.
Meet Linuji Thomas, Divisional Nurse Director. She is our most senior nurse of non-white-British background and she joined the WUTH team back in 2004 at the age of 27.
Linuji said: “I grew up in Kerala, India, and went to Delhi to do my nursing qualification. I started my career in an Indian hospital, but I was mesmerised by the UK, because it was such a developed country, and especially by the Royal Family. I wanted to spread my wings, explore and grab opportunities. So I decided to come to the Wirral.”
Linuji joined WUTH as a staff nurse on a ward for the elderly, and steadily worked her way up the nursing ranks. She has worked in many different wards and departments around the hospital. After moving through positions as Primary Nurse, Deputy Ward Manager, Ward Manager, Matron, Associate Director of Nursing, she achieved the position of Divisional Nurse Director in July 2023. “I’ve had really good support from my managers every step of the way”, she said. “WUTH has developed and moulded me into the leader I am. I give respect to everyone I work with, and in return they give me respect back. I treat everyone the same, and they treat me the same.” Linuji has recently completed a Masters Degree through the Trust’s apprenticeship programme.
Last year Linuji was part of the support network for 100 nurses recruited to the Trust from India. “I was a main point of contact for guidance, giving help within the hospital and for things outside of work such as where to go for Indian groceries, churches etc. I was able to help them understand some of the cultural differences that are reflected in the hospital systems. The Trust has been amazing in supporting these nurses with everything from, accommodation, pastoral care and completing their OSCE exams which they needed to pass before they could start work.”
When asked about the differences to living in Kerala, Linuji said: “I love living on the Wirral. It does have some similarities to Kerala because it is very green with lots of trees. When I first came here there was only one shop selling Indian food, in Liverpool, but there are plenty now.” Linuji married in 2006 and has two teenage children.
“I’ve had such a positive journey. Without the Trust’s equality culture, I wouldn’t be in this position now. The adventure that I set out on when I was 27 has been every bit as rewarding as I hoped.”
Meet Mansour Sargazi, Clinical Scientist and Point of Care Testing Service Lead. Mansour said: “I joined the Trust 18 years ago when equality and diversity was in its early stages. Since then Trust has made positive changes to ensure equality for all staff and patients regardless of their skin colour, race, ethnicity and age. As a member of a minority group, I’ve noticed the great work of Diversity and Equality Team on inclusion for staff from all races and ethnicities.
"I came to the UK in 1997 to start my PhD degree at Liverpool University and I joined the NHS after completing it in 2003.
"Since I joined the WUTH, I’ve been encouraged to contribute and inspired to develop my speciality in Point of Care Testing (POCT). With the help of managers and colleagues, we established the Trust POCT Department which is part of Laboratory Medicine, and support wards with rapid testing of patients. In 2017 I was appointed Point of Care Testing Manager.
"The Trust values diversity and for me, Race Equality Week is about the wonderful diversity of people and having an inclusive approach. That means recognising and respecting all of our beliefs, cultures and experiences, whether we are white, black, brown, Jewish, Muslim, Christian or anything else. I’ve seen the Trust evolve its approach to inclusivity, introducing new initiatives and celebrating different festivals and occasions. I really think it is doing great things. I love working here because all the staff recognise that everyone is basically the same, we just have different backgrounds. There’s a focus on the common ground we share and valuing the things that make us unique. That’s the true meaning of teamwork, which is fundamental to ensuring the best patient care. I think that’s what has made me want to stay here all this time.”
On the last day of #RaceEqualityWeek 2024 we shared our conversation with Dr Muneeba Mustafai, a Specialty Registrar in General Surgery who has recently joined #TeamWUTH.
Muneeba left her home country, Pakistan, to come and work with us in September last year. This is her first job in the NHS and she works in the general surgery team.
“The NHS has always been captivating for me as a place to work, because it's so inclusive. The thing that particularly struck me about WUTH was that it has a rich blend of people from different ethnicities, cultures, and religions. There's a chapel in the hospital which has a dedicated prayer area for the Muslim community at work. That’s a fantastic example of religious inclusivity and important for me personally.”
Muneeba has felt well supported all through her recruitment and induction into the Trust. “I’ve received lots of help from the Recruitment Team and my line manager during my initial phase of settling in."
She has noticed the cultural diversity at the hospital and has already met people from every background. She said: “It’s easy to see that the staff here respect one another and work as a team. My colleagues are caring and helpful.”
“I have always had an interest in breast and oncoplastic surgery, because there has been a steady rise in breast cancer in women. In Pakistan, women want to be examined by a female surgeon, so if they don’t have access to one, they will avoid seeking help until their symptoms are advanced. I’ve noticed this aspect in my female patients here as well, so it’s really rewarding to work in this field.”
“I’m really enjoying working here. Although it has been daunting to leave home and move to a new place all alone, I feel like I’ve settled in well. It’s quite different to working at the hospital in Pakistan, but in a positive way.”