London NHS staff celebrated in celebrity photographer Rankin’s NHS birthday portrait collection

Powerful portraits of NHS staff working on the frontline in London during the pandemic have been captured by celebrity photographer, Rankin as part of collection to celebrate the NHS’ birthday on 5th July.

NHS Staff across the Capital have been adapting the way they work to care for those in need. Dr Roopak Khara, General Adult Psychiatrist at West London NHS Trust, Dr Farzana Hussein, lead GP at Project surgery in Newham, Sarah Jensen, Chief Information Officer at Barts Health NHS Trust are just three of the brilliant NHS staff to be celebrated in Rankin’s project.

Dr Roopak Khara, West London NHS Trust

Dr Roopak Khara is a General Adult Psychiatrist at West London NHS Trust and stepped up to the role of medical lead in a new ward to care for patients with severe mental illness who had tested positive for Covid-19.

Roopak said:

“I’m so incredibly proud and honoured to represent the team which set up Avonmore Ward to care for patients with severe mental illness who’ve tested positive for Covid-19. Everyone, from the porters to the domestic team to doctors and the nurses, came together to care for our patients in response to the national crisis. The team truly represents the spirit of the NHS in action.”

Dr Farzana Hussein, Project surgery in Newham

Dr Farzana Hussein is lead GP at Newham’s Project Surgery and is proud of how her colleagues and patients have responded to the challenges that the pandemic has presented.

Online appointments and drive-through immunisation clinics are just some of the ways she has enabled her surgery to provide care for her patients in a safe environment over the past few months.

Farzana said:

“It’s wonderful to be part of this campaign and to be photographed by Rankin. Now more than ever it’s important that we not only recognise the vital role primary care has played in fighting this disease but to also shine a light on the humanity that makes up our GP practices, community services and hospitals. Every member of staff has their own story, fears and hopes for the future. I think Rankin’s photography brings this out really well.”

Sarah Jensen – Chief Information Officer, Barts Health NHS Trust

In her role as CIO at Barts Health in North East London, Sarah led the trust in increasing staff access to remote working across the Trust’s hospitals as well as in setting up IT at the Flagship London Nightingale Hospital. Sarah’s work during the pandemic enabled many vital staff to work remotely so that they were able to protect their health and that of their families.

Sarah said:

“I was very surprised and flattered to be chosen – to be at the forefront of the coronavirus story was not something I was expecting. I feel privileged to be representing my profession, as working for the NHS provides such a rewarding career. I feel very strongly that we set a good example and help get messages into schools with the younger generations who are experiencing this and run grass root campaigns to recruit and show people at a young age what is possible.”

Roopak, Farzana and Sarah were selected to be photographed for the collection, which currently being showcased at local bus stops, roadside billboards as well as iconic pedestrian areas including the world-famous Piccadilly Lights in central London to mark the 72nd anniversary of the NHS.

In a mark of respect and thanks to the NHS, the renowned photographer, who has previously shot the Rolling Stones, Kate Moss and the Queen, offered to take portraits of 12 people across the country playing a vital role in the NHS response to COVID-19.

Clegg, Joint Regional Chief Nurse for the NHS in London, said:

“In an extremely challenging year for the NHS in London, our amazing staff have continued to provide incredible care to coronavirus patients across the capital. Nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, pharmacists, cleaners and countless others have supported each other as the NHS adapted to fight this virus.

“As we approach the NHS’s birthday these striking portraits of strong NHS women represent our brilliantly progressive and diverse NHS workforce and the great sacrifices all staff have made to protect Londoners.

“On July 5th we also want to say thank you to Londoners from all walks of life who have played their part in helping NHS staff and communities across our city respond to this unprecedented health emergency.”

The participants have been photographed unhidden by PPE to reveal the people behind the masks and celebrate the individuals they are.

British photographer, director and cultural provocateur, Rankin, said,

“As the coronavirus pandemic began to unfold, I was moved by the incredible efforts of people across the NHS and I wanted to document who they are and their role in fighting this disease. Taking a portrait is a unique and intimate experience, even with social distancing in place. Everyone had their own inspiring story which to them was just doing their job. I hope these images portray the resilience and courage they show every day in the face of real adversity.”