LGBTQ NHS heroes: Stories from the pandemic frontline

The first ever Attitude Community Award is dedicated to the unsung heroes keeping us all safe.


In a year unlike any other, the first ever Attitude Community Award goes to the unsung heroes who put the needs of others before their own during the Covid-19 pandemic.

LGBTQ NHS workers were in attendance at the 2020 Virgin Atlantic Awards, powered by Jaguar on Tuesday night (1 December), and in the Attitude Awards issue - out to download and to order globally - we meet some of the team from St. Mary's hospital in London, who reflect on the difficulties, lessons and triumphs from an unprecedented nine months.

Dr Kyle Ring, HIV/GUM Registrar

Photography: Markus Bidaux

"Dealing with the unknown has been the most difficult thing. We are used to practising evidence-based medicine, however, in this case we had no evidence to work with.

"In our speciality we have experience of this going back to the HIV/Aids epidemic in the ’80s and ’90s, so there was a familiarity, but the whole process has been quite daunting.

"I have been so impressed by the flexibility and resilience of my colleagues… although we have had our ups and downs, we have maintained our team spirit."

Anderson Fujihara, Clinical Nurse Specialist

Photography: Markus Bidaux

"The biggest challenge is to see some colleagues being infected. Sadly, some of them passed away.

"I don’t think that any of us has been ready to lose colleagues with whom we work daily."

Sagila Thiruthanikasalan, Nursing Associate

Photography: Markus Bidaux

“The pandemic presented so many lessons such as how care, kindness and empathy make the day better for both your patients and your team.

"The team is your work family — appreciate and value the effort put in by all the members of your work family.”

Michael Underwood, Senior Nurse, Occupational Health

Photography: Markus Bidaux

“The clapping for the NHS surprised me most. When I first heard that this was going to happen, my initial thoughts were that no one would clap.

"When it came to 8pm, the area I live in was so loud with claps and cheers, I shed a tear. It gave me so much positivity and the need to fight this pandemic, so thank you to everyone that supported us and please continue to support the NHS post-pandemic."

Mahmoud Dabo, Matron

Photography: Markus Bidaux

“The biggest inspiration was how, as a team, we dealt with the crisis… It amazes me how we developed pathways quickly when dealing with the pandemic. It’s the learning process that took place, and is still taking place today, that continues to inspire me.

"The NHS is definitely an institution that anyone can be proud of.”

Watch the 2020 Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards, powered by Jaguar on YouTube now.

The Attitude Awards issue featuring all 14 winners is available from 1 December to download and to order globally.

Subscribe in print and get your first three issues for just £3, or digitally for just £1.54 per issue.