Prince and Princess of Wales attend NHS75 tea party with South London and Maudsley staff | Our blog

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Prince and Princess of Wales attend NHS75 tea party with South London and Maudsley staff

To mark the 75th anniversary of the NHS, the Prince and Princess of Wales surprised NHS staff and patients from across the UK with a NHS Big Tea party, organised by NHS Charities Together.

The event was attended by members of the workforce and patients representing the achievements of the NHS and NHS charities over the last 75 years. One of the guests was South London and Maudsley’s Maxine Gayle, who has over 36 years’ experience in the health service. In this blog, Maxine reflects on the event, her family’s history and how the Trust is working to create a more equitable and diverse environment for staff and service users.

“I celebrated the NHS 75 and Windrush Day at a unique tea party at St Thomas’s Hospital hosted by ‘NHS Charities Together’. My story began by being nominated by Sue Smith, our Chief People Officer.  I have been working in the NHS since 1984 and as a nurse for 36 years. My parents are part of the Windrush generation who settled in the UK. My mother was a nurse for over 30 years, and I am proud to have 3 generations of nursing in my family. I was inspired to become a nurse and being dedicated to a fantastic job that demonstrates love, compassion for caring for others. This in turn inspired my daughter who has now started her nursing career. 

Let the fun begin

As I arrived at the private location, I was grouped with other invited guests for long service. First surprise for me, I sat next to the wonderful Amanda Pritchard, the Chief Executive of NHS England. The second surprise for all cakes lovers, a fantastic cake was presented by the Great British Bake-Off host Mel Giedroyc.

The biggest surprise at this event was meeting the Prince and Princess of Wales, William and Kate. It was a lovely day to celebrate and listen to NHS staff stories of working in the NHS. I spoke about mental health and my experience as a mental health nurse working in the different areas of specialities such as being a community matron, nurse specialist, staff side chair for the unions and my role as the diverse ability network lead. Our discussion regarding my support for disabled staff members and my involvement of introducing the ability passport was a great achievement for me and highly regarded.

Equality at our Trust

South London and Maudsley is supporting our disabled staff to create a workforce that reflects the diverse range of service users we serve and looking after our well-being. The Trust is very keen on supporting all staff and producing great pieces of work which is highly supported and led by our Chief Executive David Bradley and his team promoting equality and diversity through his equality and diversity inclusion lead.     

This unique tea party will always be remembered for many reasons as we celebrate the NHS and those families who came over from the West Indies to help support and develop the NHS.  It is important to celebrate diversity and not to forget we all can make a difference in raising and promoting equality by supporting each other and demonstrating the NHS as a good place to work.

I felt extremely proud and honoured to have been nominated to represent our Trust. It is a day I will always remember and can share my experience with my colleagues, friends and family.”    

Maxine Gayle, Community Matron

Diverse Ability Network Lead and Staff Side Union Chair


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