My video forced a government U-turn – after coronavirus, there should be no question about the power of our voices

Related video: Hospital cleaner Hassan Akkad says he has to work 10 days to pay NHS surcharge

What gets me through long shifts at the hospital is the same thing that got me through my journey from Damascus to the UK – a drive to encourage people to rethink how we treat one another

Hassan Akkad

Hassan Akkad
@hassan_akkad
14 hours ago
Since 1 April, I have worked as a cleaner in a Covid-19 ward at my local hospital. As I work to ensure the space is as safe and sanitary as possible, I also take time to reflect on the resilience of both patients and staff, and to listen to those around me. I would like to share some of these reflections with you.

It is now a well-known fact that a significant number of my colleagues – the cleaners, porters, security guards, and medical assistants ​– are immigrants. A fact Boris Johnson reminded us of when he offered a special tribute to Jenny from New Zealand and Luis from Portugal, two of the nurses who attended to him while he was hospitalised with Covid-19. At my local hospital, many of my colleagues are individuals who came to the UK from all around the world.

Cherry is British Caribbean. She loves reggae and R&B, and when her shift is over, she plays music and dances for patients to cheer them up. Cherry is a brilliant, full-time carer, and plans to go back to school to complete a nursing degree.

My supervisor, Albert, is British Ghanaian. He moved to the UK in the 1990s and has been working as a cleaner at the local hospital for 15 years. He is a straight-shooter, and has a process and a method for everything. Everything he does, he does for his two daughters.
Read m She moved to London from Trinidad 26 years ago and has spent the vast majority of that time working in direct-service health care. There are no words to describe Catharine’s grace and kindness, and she has put in extra long hours so she can afford to send her daughter to university.

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