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How migration helped British science to thrive

In this special virtual event on the 75th anniversary of the NHS, we examined and celebrated the impact of migration on the NHS, medicine and the advancement of scientific research in the UK.

Founded on 5 July 1948, for three-quarters of a century the NHS has remained a staple of British achievement and is admired across the world. Yet the NHS would surely not have had the same success without the contribution made by immigrant and refugee workers.

Similarly, the movement of people has enabled STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) to thrive in British universities and colleges—almost 245,000 international students studied STEM subjects in higher education last year and half a million migrant workers worked in the Professional and Scientific sector in 2020. History is full of examples of migrants and refugees who have gone on to make some of the greatest contributions to science, including Albert Einstein, Hans Krebs and Erwin Schrödinger.

This virtual event brought together a panel of experts to examine the significant contribution of immigrants and refugees to the NHS and STEM in the UK. The panel asked what the impact may be of both Brexit and the increased movement of people due to the war in Ukraine and increasingly extreme weather events. What challenges lie ahead for British healthcare, medicine and science and what will the continuing role of immigrants be as we head towards the second quarter of the 21st century?

Speakers included:

  • Aditi Anand—Artistic Director, Migration Museum
  • Professor JS Bamrah CBE—Senior NHS Consultant Psychiatrist; Previously Chair of British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin.
  • Natasha McEnroe—Keeper of Medicine, Science Museum
  • Qasa Alom (Chair)—Investigative journalist who has presented numerous documentaries and programmes for TV and radio across various BBC outlets, including BBC Radio 4 and Radio 5 Live

Further speakers to be announced.