Colleagues pay tribute as Dr Poornima Nair becomes tenth UK GP to die from coronavirus

Colleagues have paid tribute after County Durham GP Dr Poornima Nair became the UK's tenth GP to die from coronavirus and the first woman from the profession to lose her life during the pandemic.

Dr Poornima Nair
Dr Poornima Nair

Dr Nair, a GP in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, died after a 'prolonged' battle against COVID-19, colleagues at the Station View Medical Centre confirmed.

A statement posted on the practice website said: 'The practice is very sorry to announce to our patients the death of our much loved and valued colleague and friend Dr Poornima Nair.

'Dr Nair passed away after a prolonged COVID-19 illness which she fought with her great strength of character. We are all devastated and upset by this tragic news and hope you will join with us in our thoughts and prayers.'

Caring GP

Practice manager Sarah Westgarth told BBC Look North that Dr Nair 'lit up any room she walked into', calling her 'positive, encouraging and so caring to her patients'.

BMA GP committee member Dr Preeti Shukla said on Twitter that the loss of the Bishop Auckland GP was 'devastating' - calling her a 'well respected colleague' who had been 'full of life' and left behind a grieving family.

Local MP Dehenna Davison called Dr Nair's death 'heartbreaking'. In a statement posted on her Facebook page, the Bishop Auckland and Teesdale MP said: 'I’m deeply saddened to hear of the heartbreaking loss of Dr Poornima Nair after contracting coronavirus.

'Dr Nair was a well-known and extremely valued member of our community, serving as a doctor at Station View Medical Centre. She will be heavily missed by all that knew her, and my thoughts and prayers go out to her friends, family, and colleagues at this sad time.'

COVID-19 pandemic

The County Durham GP's death was confirmed just hours after Essex GP Dr Karamat Ullah Mirza became the ninth primary care doctor believed to have lost his life to coronavirus.

Dr Kamlesh Masson, Dr Habib Zaidi and Dr Fayez Ayache - also from Essex, along with Bury GP Dr Saad Al-Dubbaisi, Dorset GP Dr Craig Wakeham and London GPs Dr Yusuf Ismail Patel, Dr Syed Zishan Haider and Dr Krishan Arora have also died. See the GPonline tribute page for more details.

Dr Nair is the ninth GP from a black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) background to die during the pandemic. Research published last week showed that people from BAME groups face a two to three times higher risk of death from the virus.

Practices have been urged to risk assess BAME doctors and the BMA has warned that older BAME doctors should not be working in high risk roles during the pandemic.

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