‘They made the ultimate sacrifice’: Matt Hancock hails medics killed saving lives from coronavirus

Matt Hancock hailed NHS medics killed helping to save lives during the coronavirus pandemic today as he took responsibility for a shortage of tests for health workers.

The Health Secretary praised the ‘ultimate sacrifice’ made after doctors from minority communities died this week while working tirelessly for the NHS as the number of patients grew.

Ear, nose and throat consultant Amged El-Hawrani, 55, became the first doctor to be recognised by the NHS as having died after contracting coronavirus in Leicester last weekend.

And Dr Alfa Saadu, 68, is said to have contracted Covid-19 before his death earlier this week while working part-time in Welwyn, Hertfordshire.

At the news conference today Mr Hancock said it had been his decision to prioritise coronavisus tests for patients rather than NHS staff.

But he paid an emotional tribute to NHS workers, whose work will again be marked by a co-ordinated clap across the nation tonight at 8pm.

‘If the past few weeks have shown us anything, it’s that we are steadfast as a country in our resolve to defeat this invisible killer,’ he said.

The Health Secretary praised the ‘ultimate sacrifice’ made after doctors from minority communities died this week while working tirelessly for the NHS as the number of patients grew.

Ear, nose and throat consultant Amged El-Hawrani, 55, became the first doctor to be recognised by the NHS as having died after contracting coronavirus, at the weekend

Ear, nose and throat consultant Amged El-Hawrani, 55, became the first doctor to be recognised by the NHS as having died after contracting coronavirus, at the weekend

And Dr Alfa Saadu, 68, is said to have contracted Covid-19 before his death earlier this week while working part-time in Welwyn, Hertfordshire

And Dr Alfa Saadu, 68, is said to have contracted Covid-19 before his death earlier this week while working part-time in Welwyn, Hertfordshire

‘I am profoundly moved by the compassion and the commitment that we are seeing from people right across the country, and in the health and care system we have lost colleagues too.

‘Doctors, nurses, mental health professionals: they have paid the ultimate price for their service – working to care for others.

‘I just want to say this on behalf of all my colleagues in health and social care: I am awed by the dedication of colleagues on the frontline, every single person, who contributes to the running of this diverse and caring institution that our nation holds so dear.

‘Many of those who have died who are from the NHS were people who came to this country to make a difference, and they did, and they’ve given their lives in sacrifice, and we salute them.’

Mr Hancock tonight defended the decision to prioritise patients for the limited number of tests available so far, saying: ‘I understand why NHS staff want tests, so they can get back to the frontline. Of course I do.

‘But I took the decision that the first priority has to be the patients for whom the result of a test could be the difference in treatment that is the difference between life and death

‘I believe anybody in my shoes would have taken the same decision.

‘I’m proud that every single patient who needed a test for life-saving treatment has had access to a test. But of course NHS staff need access to testing too.

And I’m delighted that at the weekend we could roll out this access for the first time.

According to his family, Dr Saadu was working part-time at the Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital before he died. He had a 40-year career in hospitals across London.   

Fallen heroes from the NHS frontline: Retired physician, 68, who returned to work to fight coronavirus becomes the fourth doctor to die after catching bug

DR ALFA SAADU

Dr Alfa Saadu, 68, died yesterday morning after fighting the coronavirus for two weeks

Dr Alfa Saadu, 68, died yesterday morning after fighting the coronavirus for two weeks

Dr Alfa Saadu was described by his family as a ‘passionate’ physician who had come out of retirement to help fight the coronavirus pandemic in Britain.

The 68-year-old doctor, who died yesterday morning after fighting the virus for two weeks, had been working at Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.

His son Dani told HuffPost UK: ‘He was a very passionate man, who cared about saving people. As soon you spoke to him about medicine his face would light up.

‘He worked for the NHS for nearly 40 years in different hospitals across London. He loved to lecture people in the world of medicine – he did so in the UK and Africa.’

He also described his father as a ‘massive family man’, adding that he leaves behind two sons and a wife who is also a retired doctor, in occupational health.

Dr Saadu had been working at Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital in Welwyn, Hertfordshire

Dr Saadu had been working at Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital in Welwyn, Hertfordshire

Dr Saadu, who was originally from Nigeria, was a former clinical director of the care of the elderly department at West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

He was also medical director of Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Essex, and medical director and consultant physician at Ealing Hospital in West London.

Lance McCarthy, chief executive of The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, said: ‘Alfa was well-known at the trust for his passion for ensuring our patients received high quality care.

‘He was a committed member of the team and is remembered fondly by many. His family and friends are in our thoughts at this sad time.’

DR HABIB ZAIDI, GP

Dr Habib Zaidi worked as a GP at Eastwood Group Practice in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex

Dr Habib Zaidi worked as a GP at Eastwood Group Practice in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex

Dr Habib Zaidi’s grieving family said the GP, believed to be the first British doctor to die from coronavirus, ‘sacrificed’ his life to take care of his patients.

He became ill on March 24 and died just 24 hours later in hospital. Test results for Covid-19 came back positive yesteday – and his daughter Sarah, a GP at his practice in Essex, had earlier said he had ‘textbook symptoms’.

Dr Zaidi, who came to the UK from Pakistan in the early 1970s and worked at Eastwood Group Practice in Leigh-on-Sea, had been self-isolating for a week before he became ill.

His death raised concerns among the medical community about being exposed to the deadly virus without sufficient protective equipment.

Dr Zaidi’s family said: ‘For him to be snatched away from us in this way, in these desperately troubling times for the whole world, has left us truly heartbroken.

‘But we are overwhelmed, touched and comforted by the many kind tributes and love we have received. The name Habib means beloved and beloved he truly was.

‘We know that not only has he left a gaping hole in our hearts but a loss that is also felt within the community that he devoted almost his entire life to.’

His daughter Sarah told the BBC: ‘For that to be the thing that took him is too much to bear. It is reflective of his sacrifice.’

Dr Jose Garcia-Lobera, GP chair at Southend Clinical Commissioning Group, said he was a ‘hugely respected, selfless man who dedicated his life to helping others’.

He added: ‘Dr Zaidi will always be remembered for his significant contribution to local health services through his long career as a GP. 

AMGED EL-HAWRANI, ENT CONSULTANT 

Amged El-Hawrani was an ear, nose and throat specialist at Queen's Hospital in Burton

Amged El-Hawrani was an ear, nose and throat specialist at Queen’s Hospital in Burton

Amged El-Hawrani became the UK’s first front-line hospital doctor to die from coronavirus following warnings that a lack of protective equipment would cost medical staff lives.

The ‘dedicated’ consulant, who was an ear, nose and throat specialist at Queen’s Hospital in Burton, was known for being ‘extremely hard-working’ and deeply committed to his patients.

He died on March 28 at the Glenfield Hospital in Leicester – the first UK death of a full-time hospital doctor from the virus since the crisis began.

Dr El-Hawrani was primarily an ear, nose and throat consultant and surgeon but before he became unwell, he had also been volunteering in A&E.

His family said they were devastated but ‘immensely proud’, and staff at his hospital said they were ‘desperately saddened’.

But the British Medical Association warned that his death would reverberate amongst NHS staff, who are becoming increasingly concerned over the lack of protective equipment.

Last week the trade union claimed lives would be lost because the clothing and masks were being rationed by hospitals, with doctors forced to source their own.

Dr El-Hawrani was primarily an ear, nose and throat consultant and surgeon but before he became unwell, he had also been volunteering in A&E

Dr El-Hawrani was primarily an ear, nose and throat consultant and surgeon but before he became unwell, he had also been volunteering in A&E

The consultant was known for being ‘extremely hard-working’ and dedicated to his patients, and was well-liked by his colleagues across the board.

Outside work he took part in a trek across the Himalayas several years ago to raise money for the trust.

Dr El-Hawrani was known for being 'extremely hard-working' and dedicated to his patients

Dr El-Hawrani was known for being ‘extremely hard-working’ and dedicated to his patients

He was also closely involved in the merger of the Derby and Burton hospitals in 2018 and provided regular support for doctors outside of his own department.

His family issued a statement which read: ‘Amged was a loving and much-loved husband, son, father, brother, and friend.

‘His greatest passions were his family and his profession, and he dedicated his life to both. He was the rock of our family, incredibly strong, compassionate, caring and giving.

‘Losing Amged is devastating for our family. Life without him is impossible to imagine but together, we will do all we can to honour his memory and live how he would have wanted us to.’

Gavin Boyle, chief executive at University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS trust, said: ‘The whole UHDB family are desperately saddened at losing Amged who was such a valued and much loved colleague.’

Dr El-Hawrani is understood to have fallen ill several weeks ago and had been on intensive care for some time.

Colleague Sonia Maxim, a healthcare assistant, wrote on Facebook: ‘He was an amazing colleague and friend, he will be missed so, so much. My heart is broken.’

ADIL EL TAYAR, TRANSPLANT SURGEON

Dr Adil El Tayar, 63, an organ transplant consultant, developed symptoms after he volunteered to help treat patients

Dr Adil El Tayar, 63, an organ transplant consultant, developed symptoms after he volunteered to help treat patients

A transplant surgeon who volunteered to work on the NHS frontline against coronavirus died from the disease.

Dr Adil El Tayar, 63, an organ transplant consultant, developed symptoms after he volunteered to help treat patients at Hereford County Hospital.

His grieving family warned NHS staff were ‘sitting ducks’ and called for them to be given better protective kit and disease testing.

Cousin Dr Hisham El-Khider said he believed Dr El Tayar’s death was preventable, saying: ‘If we don’t improve protection for staff across the board then more of us will die.

‘The brunt of this disease is only going to get bigger and bigger, and more needs to be done.

‘If we don’t, there will be more doctors and nurses who fall seriously ill and are unable to treat patients who desperately require their care.’

Dr El Tayar, pictured with his family, self-isolated once he developed symptoms but had to be taken to hospital with breathing problems

Dr El Tayar, pictured with his family, self-isolated once he developed symptoms but had to be taken to hospital with breathing problems

Dr El Tayar, a father-of-four, self-isolated once he developed symptoms but had to be taken to hospital with breathing difficulties and died last Wednesday at the West Middlesex University Hospital in Isleworth, West London.

His cousin, BBC journalist Zeinab Badawi, said: ‘He’d wanted to be deployed where he would be most useful during the crisis.

‘That was typical of my cousin Adil, always willing to help, always with a willing smile.’

She added: ‘It had taken just 12 days for Adil to go from a seemingly fit and capable doctor working in a busy hospital to lying in a hospital morgue.’

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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