Celebrate and support the 70th NHS Birthday and “Windrush” anniversary

The 70th anniversary of Windrush takes place as the NHS as a whole
marks its 70th year during 2018. UNISON will be celebrating the
creation of the NHS, the single most loved organization in the UK and
Windrush anniversary for the staff who work for the NHS.
These are the staff from the “Windrush” families who left their homes to come to the UK to work in the healthcare system, the dedicated staff who are saving lives and caring for us even today. Many such “Windrush” families were among the first to go and work in the
newly formed National Health Service which launched just two weeks after their arrival in the UK. To date, the NHS remains the largest employer for Black staff, who makes up a fifth of the workforce. UNISON is proud to represent the whole team of staff, many of whom
are UNISON members. We believe that everyone, whatever their job, plays a vital role in patient care. The work of our members/ NHS staff are worth celebrating alongside the NHS itself. But, as the largest union in the NHS, we also know that there has never been a more
important time for us to stand together and defend our health service against the policies of this government.

That’s why we are asking members, their families and their friends to
join us at noon on Saturday 30 June 2018 at Portland Place, London W1 for a demonstration in support of our NHS. Let’s celebrate of course. But let’s also show our support for the NHS at a time when it is threatened like never before.

What else members/branches can do:
Organise events locally to celebrate this special birthday and Windrush anniversary.
 Organise ‘Our NHS is 70’ themed birthday and ‘Windrush anniversary’ parties.
 Hold workplace and public stalls to help raise the profile of the whole team of NHS staff
and the fantastic jobs you do.
 Share pictures of your events on social media using the hashtag #NHS70.

Celebrate and support the 70th NHS Birthday and “Windrush” anniversary Caribbean Commonwealth citizens are being hassled for papers after being in the UK for 40 or 50 years — finally bubbled over.
Many of these former child migrants are now elderly, and
perhaps more reliant on state services than in the past. The
“hostile/compliant environment” policy of forcing migrants to
prove their immigration status at every turn in a bid to smoke
out the undocumented means that people are increasingly
having to produce paperwork where in the past they would be
free to access public (and private) services unmolested. The
result is the horror stories we have seen in recent months.
“Windrush” generation continued…

For people to get official proof of their pre-existing right to reside, they needed to apply to the Home Office for a No Time Limit residence permit. There has always been a process for getting this permit. The problem for the Windrush generation has been proving entitlement to it without the right evidence, access to legal advice, and hard cash. People who arrived in the UK from Commonwealth countries before 1973 but have not been able to prove their right to be here up to now can get the following help in sorting out their legal status:
A 20-person Home Office taskforce will assist in getting people their No Time Limit permit within two weeks.

There is a phone and email helpline:
Freephone: 0800 678 1925 (Mon to Sat 9am to 5pm, Sun10am to 4pm)
Email: commonwealthtaskforce@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

This unit will actively help with finding the necessary evidence in government records instead of the onus being on the person applying. The fee for No Time Limit permits has been waived. Nobody will be detained or removed from the UK while their situation is being assessed. Over 8,000 records of past removals are being checked to see whether anyone has been “deported in error” already. This Windrush taskforce is now also open to people who arrived after 1973 but before 1988 (from Commonwealth countries only, one assumes, but this is not specified).

Contributed by Rosita Ellis and Kunal Patel