Several hundred Filipino nurses protested outside the London headquarters of the Daily Mail newspaper on Saturday, following recent coverage of the Victorino Chua case.
The event on 30 May, organised by Filipino nurses from Unison, follows a recent war of words over the media portrayal of nurses from the Philippines in the wake of the jailing of Mr Chua for murdering two of his patients and poisoning 19 others.
“The nationality of the perpetrator of these wicked crimes should be irrelevant”
The protesters singled out the Daily Mail after it published a series of articles last month highlighting Mr Chua’s nationality and revealing that the NHS was continuing to recruit nurses directly from the Philippines.
They argued that Mr Chua’s crimes, while terrible, should not be linked to his nationality and that some of the coverage had been “offensive” to Filipino nurses working in the NHS. They have called for a public apology from the newspaper.
Unison said it estimated that directly employing Filipino nurses saved the NHS £300m per year in agency nursing fees.
Meanwhile the Royal College of Nursing has said “media interest in the Victorino Chua case” has “provoked a great deal of anger and consternation” among nurses.
In a statement on 26 May, the college said it had contacted media organisations that its members believed had failed “to report the facts and to investigate, analyse and debate in a sensitive and appropriate manner”.
“The Chua case has provoked a great deal of anger and consternation in the nursing community”
Peter Carter, RCN chief executive and general secretary, said: “The Chua case has been the subject of much media interest and comment.
“Nurses from the Philippines have been working in the NHS for many years and have contributed enormously to our health service,” he said.
“The RCN objects strongly to any media story, which would suggest that the actions of one disturbed individual should be preventing the NHS from recruiting any further Filipino nursing staff,” he added.
Statement handed to Daily Mail by protesters
Position statement of organisers: Solidarity gathering supporting UK Filipino Health Workers
Following the recent conviction and sentencing of nurse Victoriano Chua for murdering two patients and poisoning 18 others, the Daily Mail published several references to him being Filipino.
We believed that the nationality of the perpetrator of these wicked crimes should be irrelevant. We would accept a reference to Chua being of Filipino ethnicity within the body of the story, however the Daily Mail referred to Chua as a ‘Filipino serial killer’ in the title of the news article is uncalled for.
The other headline story which is causing offence and indeed difficulties for Filipino nurses is ‘Why are the NHS still hiring Filipino nurses?’
We believe that one person’s mistake doesn’t reflect everyone.
We consider the article by Daily Mail questioning the credibility of Filipino Nurses, including all working Filipinos in the UK, malicious and degrading. Filipino nurses have undergone four years of tedious study, community and clinical based experiences and need to pass a gruelling board examination before they can be called registered nurse.
What happened was a tragedy and safety measures have to be implemented to stop it from happening again however, scaremongering and targeting a specific group of people is not helping.
The Daily Mail should be shamed of its biased, partial reporting that is inciting racial hatred which we believe is a crime in the United Kingdom.
These are the reasons for our protest, we demand an apology and for the Daily Mail to highlight the outstanding contribution Filipino health care workers make to the United Kingdom.
Finally, on behalf of the organising committee, in one with the overwhelming majority of Filipinos throughout the United Kingdom and indeed the world, we would like to say how truly sorry we are about the shocking crimes committed by Chua and we send our deepest condolences and prayers to the families of the victims.