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Calls for greater protection for Filipino health and care workers following highest death rates

THE ambassador from the Philippines to Britain called for key workers to be “properly protected” today following claims that Filipinos had the highest death rate of NHS and care staff.

By May 16, 173 frontline health and care workers had died with Covid-19, according to the PA news agency.

Of those, approximately 13 per cent were of Filipino heritage. 

The death rates contrast with the fact that Filipinos make up roughly 1.5 per cent of the total workforce in England.

Ambassador Antonio Lagdameo urged the NHS to ensure “those heroes who put their lives on the line for all of us are properly protected and equipped as they do their job.”

Filipino Nurses Association (FNA) UK officer Francis Fernando said that he believed more Filipino staff have died working in Britain’s health and care system during the crisis than in the Philippines. 

The FNA have heard “a lot of anecdotal stories about BAME staff being hand-picked to work in Covid wards, without adequate protection,” Mr Fernando said.

He said: “There must be something in our culture that prevents us from speaking out or we feel that we just have to follow the manager's requests, that we cannot say no.”

Mr Fernando added that he knew nothing about union representatives or how to effectively raise concerns with management when he first joined the health service.

On March 2, 68-year-old Eleuterio Gibela died in the hospital he worked at as a cleaner since 2003. 

Mr Gibela had continued to work despite suffering from diabetes and chest problems, making him vulnerable to Covid-19. 

His daughter, Kristiana, said: “They would ask him to do overtime and cover for someone. My dad would never say no. He was that kind of man.”

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