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As the NHS reaches its 75th anniversary (2023), it is important to mark the contribution that migrant nurses have always made to the service. Irish nurses formed a very significant group. During the 1960s 11% of all nurses recruited to hospitals in the south east of England were born in the Irish republic (Walter, 1989). By 1971 there were 31,000 Irish-born nurses in Britain constituting 12% of all nursing staff (Daniels, 1993: 5-6).   This paper presents emerging findings from an oral history of women who migrated from Ireland to train and work as nurses from the inception of the health service in the last 1940s, through the 1950s -1960s.
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Prof Louise Ryan is Senior Professor of Sociology and Director of the Global Diversities and Inequalities Research Centre at London Metropolitan University. She is an internationally recognised expert on migration. She has authored over 10 books and more than 60 journal articles. Her contribution to migration research was recognised with a Fellowship of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2015 and her recent book Revisiting Migrant Networks won the IMISCOE prize in 2020. Louise is currently part of a large Horizon2020 project (MIMY) on migrant youth across 9 European countries.

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