Coronavirus has, so far, claimed the lives of ten UK doctors from Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Syria and Sudan. They are the first, and so far only, doctors publicly reported to have died after catching the virus in Britain’s crippling NHS. This is testament to the sheer dependence the NHS places on its foreign workers. Five of the ten doctors were of South Asian descent.
1. Dr. Habib Zaidi, 76, a longtime general practitioner from Pakistan; first doctor to die from COVID-19 in the UK.
2. Dr. Jitendra Rathod, 62, a heart surgeon from India
3. Dr. Anton Sebastianpillai, in his 70s, a geriatric doctor from Sri Lanka
4. Dr Abdul Mabud Chowdhury, 53, consultant urologist from Bangladesh who warned PM Boris Johnson of the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for NHS workers.
5. Dr Fayaz Ayache, 76, GP who came out of retirement from Syria
6. Dr Alfa Saadu, 68 who came back from retirement, orginally from Nigeria
7. Dr El-Hawrani, 55 an ENT consultant from Sudan
8. Dr Adil El Tayar, 63, an organ transplant consultant originally from Sudan,
9. Dr. Mohamed Sami Shousha, 79, a breast tissue specialist from Egypt
10. Dr. Syed Haider, in his 80s, a GP from Pakistan. (not pictured)
Britain has an ever-increasing issue with immigrants, so much so it led to Brexit. The very immigrants that were previously being criticised for abusing the system, are now being applauded for fighting on the front lines of the epidemic. The infamous home secretary, Priti Patel, has even announced measures to extend visas for foreign healthcare workers so they can “focus on fighting coronavirus”. Many have criticised this move as the government exploiting the vulnerable.
The UK is set to see the greatest number of deaths due to coronavirus in Europe. Whilst we can hope that the appreciation for our foreign workers is never forgotten, it is hard to say whether there will be any concrete change in attitudes towards them.
May our thoughts and prayers be with the families of the deceased, not just doctors but all healthcare and key workers. Their work will not be forgotten.