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Our commitment to you - profiles


Nwora Melie, Embryologist


Watching Dr Who was what embryologist Nwora Melie liked best about England when he arrived from Nigeria – but that was in 1975 and he was only 10 years old at the time.


Back in 1975, Nwora was here for a family holiday. Since then he has had a globe-spanning scientific education - from America to Africa and back again to England – before accrediting his overseas qualifications for their UK equivalent and being snapped up by RD&E for a Band 7 embryologist post back in 2007. Our selection panel were impressed with the quality management skills he had honed back in Nigeria and wanted him to undertake similar work here.


Nwora loves his scientific work treating fertility issues as well as the management aspect of his role. He always aims to “be as good as I can be in my job”. His managers at RD&E have spotted this and made full use of his talents. In 2009, he was promoted to Quality Manager for our fertility clinic. Now Nwora is further developing his management skills through RD&E’s in-house Effective Manager course which, when he has done the assignments, should lead to a Level 5 award in Management, by the Institute of Leadership & Management, with affiliate membership of the Institute. “I’ve always been very well supported”, he says.


What does Nwora like about England? “Everything has a proper process and is well-ordered,” he says, “and I still enjoy Dr Who – although now with my two young daughters!”


Dandra Loney-Ratteray, Staff Nurse


Dandra Ratteray is seriously impressed with the nursing profession in the UK. So much so, she uprooted from her native Trinidad and Tobago back in 1991 and came all the way to London to pursue a nursing career.

“Nursing is full of opportunities here,” she explains, “it is diverse and you get promoted based on what you’ve accomplished, not how long you’ve been around.”

Dandra came to RD&E back in 2008. “Life in Devon seemed strange to start with,” she says.”I walked down the street and didn’t see anyone of colour. I’d stop and ask directions and people would just ignore me.”

“Sometimes you get comments from patients,” she adds, “like “another one of them”. I’ve learnt to take these things for what they are, though.” Patients can be a bit wary of her to start with, but, as Dandra says, “that soon wears away, once they see I’m friendly and caring.”

Dandra is enjoying being in Devon. “It’s quiet and green, like being on holiday,” she says, “although I miss the 365 days a year of sunshine in Trinidad and Tobago!”

Dandra loves nursing, which, she explains, “has given me a set of experiences I can take anywhere.”


Chiko Ali, Technician


“I had no English when I got here from Bangladesh,” says Chiko, remembering how his father brought him to England, aged 13 in the 1980s. “It was a hard language. The same word can mean so many different things – but you soon learn and make friends.”

Chiko Ali, Technician
He came to Exeter from Portsmouth 10 years ago, looking for something different. He loves living by the sea and enjoys Exeter as “very laid back, with a quiet, friendly lifestyle.”

“It was a bit strange to start with, though … there were hardly any ethnic minority people here back then, but I made friends quickly and stayed. It’s been good, here.”

Chiko has been happily settled with RD&E for several years, as a technician in our Hospital Sterilisation and Decontamination Unit, where we clean, sterilise and repackage all the used surgical instruments.

As a Bangaldeshi Muslim, Chiko is “proud to be different”, but has a wide mix of friends, from all backgrounds.

 “It’s much more interesting when you have a variety of races all coming together,” says Chiko, “that’s something I’ve seen at RD&E.”


Babinder Sandhar, Consultant and Director of Clinical Education


Babinder SandharBabinder is a consultant anaesthetist, our Director of Clinical Education and a member of the Workforce and Diversity Steering Group.


Babinder was only five years old when she came to England. Her earliest memories  are of how much it rained, white bread – and missing out on Father Christmas, who skipped over Sikh children and seemed “reserved for the English”.

Not that Babinder has allowed herself to miss out on very much in life since then. Her parents and her schooling have given her a powerful “can do” mentality, which has taken her through many barriers, including gender and race, to the pinnacle of her chosen career.

As a junior doctor, Babinder had to make personal visits to potential employers, because if she didn’t, with a foreign name like hers the applications just went straight in the bin. Almost 20 years ago, when she became only the second female consultant at RD&E, she heard that a recently retired consultant had commented that “not only has RD&E chosen a female consultant, but a foreign one at that!” With a wry smile she also recalls how, even as a consultant, patients would assume because she was foreign she must be a visiting trainee.

Babinder is now passionate about equality and encourages everyone she can to “have the confidence to do things and go for it!”


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