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Pinoy Abroad

UK envoy cites ‘malasakit’ to explain why Filipino nurses are loved by British people

British Ambassador Laure Beaufils said Filipino nurses and other health workers remain in high demand and have carved a “phenomenal” reputation among UK citizens for their "care and concern and kindness.”
Smiling broadly in a recent interview with GMA News Online when the topic turned to Filipino health workers in the UK, Beaufils surprisingly used a Tagalog word to sum up the trait that she said sets them apart in the minds of many British people: “Malasakit.”
"Yes, because of the malasakit,” the ambassador replied in a tone brimming with pride, pronouncing the Tagalog word casually and clearly, when asked if Filipino nurses remain in demand in the UK.
“The number of anecdotal stories that I’ve heard is just phenomenal. Everyone has a story about how a family member has been looked after by a Filipino nurse, and that is just wonderful. Really wonderful,” Beaufils said. “That’s why the Philippines has a great reputation in the UK.”
Filipino health workers are loved for their work and care across British society, said Beaufils, who has also lived and worked in Rwanda, Ethiopia, India, Cambodia, France, and the United States. 
“It’s interesting the number of people who have spoken to me and said, ‘Oh, my dad is in the hospital, and, you know, in x part of England, a Filipino nurse was looking after him, and then my auntie was in the hospital, and a Filipino nurse was looking after her, and everyone has a story to tell about how Filipino nurses or doctors show such care and concern and kindness,” the UK’s top envoy to Manila said.
Filipinos comprise the second-largest number of expatriate health workers in the UK after India, Beaufils said.
“In terms of foreign healthcare workers in the UK, India and the Philippines are pretty much neck-and-neck."

"So, I think the Philippines is just behind India, but it’s very close,” she said.
Close to 19,000 Filipinos serve the UK's public health system either as medical professionals, such as nurses and allied health professionals, or as support staff.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Filipino nurses in Britain were praised by the UK government for their enormous contribution to the country’s healthcare system and for saving people’s lives.
May Parsons, the Filipino nurse who administered the first COVID-19 vaccine, represented the UK National Health Service (NHS) in receiving the George Cross award from the late Queen Elizabeth II in July 2022.
The George Cross is the highest distinction given by the UK for non-military courage.
In the early 2000s, the Philippine nursing profession grew to become a major player in the global healthcare market when it became the biggest supplier of registered nurses due to the global nursing shortage, particularly in the United States, Canada, and Europe.
“We really celebrate their malasakit, their professionalism, their kindness, and their quality of care,” said Beaufils, adding that a memorandum of agreement with the Philippine government in 2021 has ensured that Filipino healthcare workers get the best protection.
“It's a community that we celebrate and that we look after to make sure that they are happy and prospering in the UK,” she said.  —VBL, GMA Integrated News