Kay Lutchmayah

Kay was born in Mauritius in October 1943 and came to the UK with her husband, Mark, in 1962. Mark came to the UK to work in engineering, whilst Kay wanted to take up nursing training. She completed her training and worked as a staff nurse in Brighton but wanted to train as a Ward Sister. Her husband, meanwhile, was working in a variety of jobs: in electronics, for the telephone exchange and as a factory worker. She began to experience some difficulty in gaining recognition for her work and found herself undertaking the responsibilities of a Sister without being paid for doing so. She appealed about her staff grading, and was successful, being awarded an E grade. She began to undertake a conversion but was demoted to D grade, for reasons she could not understand, and then eventually lost this grading also. She then found additional work as a private nurse as her family needed her income when her husband, who had worked for three years as a porter within the NHS, became ill. Kay is now retired and, though often ill herself, spends time looking after her husband.

Feeling undervalued

I gave my best to my job but was working to make ends meet. I had to work but when you are doing your job so well and getting less pay for it, it doesn’t matter how much experience or qualification you have − if your face fits you get the promotion.  I could not wait to stop working, so you count your days until retirement.