Family pays tribute to Barking and Dagenham GP as nation holds minute’s silence for key workers who died fighting Covid-19
PUBLISHED: 16:30 28 April 2020 | UPDATED: 16:30 28 April 2020
The family of a doctor who died after contracting the coronavirus has described a one minute’s silence held to honour fallen NHS heroes as a “humbling tribute”.
Dr Syed Zishan Haider worked for more than 30 years at Barking and Dagenham Clinical Commissioning Group. He died aged 79 at Queen’s Hospital on April 6.
His daughter Samina Haider said ahead of the silence on April 28: “It’s the first time, in a way, to be able to take stock of what’s happened. “It’s a very humbling tribute and I think it’s important to do and it feels like, at this point in time, our own personal grief is a nation’s grief as well, even though it’s for multiple people.” But she highlighted issues with personal protective equipment and a wider lack of funding for the NHS, adding: “We cannot lose sight of why we are having to do such a tribute in the first place.
“I’m so pleased that we are being able to acknowledge this minute’s silence, but there’s a bigger thing at stake here and we have to be able to question it and hold those accountable to why this has had to happen in the first place.”
And in tribute to her father, Samina described Dr Haider as a “selfless and compassionate” doctor of more than 50 years experience.
After qualifying at the Khyber Medical College, Peshawar in Pakistan, Dr Haider came to the UK in the late 1960s to continue his medical career.
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He started in the National Health Service as a house officer and then continued to work for the NHS in hospitals around Greater London and the home counties before focusing his specialism in the primary health care sector as a general practitioner.
Samina wrote: “As a practising GP, he was committed to serving his community in Barking and Dagenham, where he was a senior partner at Valence Medical Centre.
“He also worked as a senior homeopathic physician at the Royal London Hospital for integrated medicine for more than 30 years.
“His dedication to help people everywhere, be it professionally or personally was unwavering. He wasn’t just a GP to his patients and colleagues – he was a true friend and mentor. Someone that anyone could turn to, whenever they needed support and advice.
“We are truly astounded as to how many people have reached out to share a story of his kindness and continue to receive touching tributes from colleagues, patients, friends and family alike.
“He was a loving, cheerful and dedicated husband, father and grandfather. We are left with a void that can never be filled.
“We would like to pay tribute to all the NHS staff at Queen’s hospital, Romford, who treated him, and those risking their health in all areas of front line services.”
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