Palestinian refugees given new hope as the NHS opens door to international nurses

Tap to watch a video report from ITV News reporter James Dunham

Five Palestinian refugees have been given a new sense of hope and purpose after leaving conflict back home for the wards of London hospitals.

After landing at Heathrow from Lebanon six months ago the group have been working at Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust rehabilitation hospitals at St Pancras and Hillingdon.

Their opportunity is helping to provide resilience to a health service that's in need of staff with one in ten NHS vacancies unfilled.

Mohammad Al Qanwan, 24, says he just had the "chance to survive" back home.

Mohammad Al Qanwan is one of the five to join the NHS trust Credit: ITV News

"The moment I got accepted here in the UK I felt like all my dreams, all my career and academic goals existed again.

"Back home they consider us refugees in that country we don't have the basic rights, I just have the chance to survive daily.

Rami Mansour says arriving in the UK feels like being "reborn".

"We are thankful every day we got this opportunity to start over and to kickstart our career and to even progress our knowledge.

"In Lebanon, opportunities are very limited for Palestinians but in here the skies are the limit."

  • Watch: Twins Yara and Rawan say there was no hesitation in leaving Lebanon

The recruitment drive offers training which will result in them being registered as nurses with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Fayzeh Rachid is a band four nurse and is working towards becoming band five, pushing forward with a clear message.

"I have something to prove back to our community, the Palestinian, the Muslim people, to the people who see that woman doesn't have any goal except for the home.

"So I'm here to prove them wrong and to correct their perception about women. I'm here to prove my dad that here is a good girl and to make him proud."

Fayzeh Rachid has something to prove Credit: ITV News

Director of Nursing William Sakala described the appointment of Fayzeh, Yara, Rawan, Mohammad and Rami as "morale lifting".

"I think most importantly it brings a diverse view, it brings diverse skills, experience.

"It helps certainly people like me think about how challenging the world is and how privileged we are to be in this position.

"How privileged we are to be looking after people at their vulnerable time and that does lift spirits on the ward."