Hundreds pay tribute to British-Iraqi doctor following Covid-19 death

Hundreds line streets in tearful tribute to 'much loved' British-Iraqi doctor who died from Covid-19
3 min read
06 May, 2020
Locals of Holcombe Brook, Greater Manchester, lined the streets for the funeral of local GP Dr Saad Al-Dubbaisi, who 'gave everything for the community' during his 20 years of service.
Saad Al-Dubbaisi's funeral cortege passes through Holcombe Brook [Twitter]
Hundreds of people lined the streets of a northern English town on Tuesday for the funeral procession of local doctor Saad Al-Dubbaisi, who had served the community for over 20 years before his untimely death from Covid-19.

The Iraqi-born doctor passed away on Sunday aged-59, after five weeks of battling the coronavirus.

Residents of Holcombe Brook, Greater Manchester, were pictured standing outside their homes and laying out floral tributes before applauding Dr Al-Dubbaisi's funeral cortege as it passed through the town.

The Muslim doctor, who was well-known in the community for his out-of-hours medical service, was described by his daughter as spreading "kindness and warmth" throughout his two decades as a local practitioner.

Following the funeral ceremony at his local mosque, the hearse passed through Bury to the Garden City Medical Centre in Holcombe Brook where the GP worked, flanked by cars carrying his family and vehicles from the out-of-hours medical service.

Tearful practice staff laid floral bouquets on Dr Al-Dubbaisi's coffin, while dozens of tributes were laid under an oak tree outside the centre, according to the Shropshire Star.

The dozens of doctors, nurses and surgery staff stood for several minutes' silence, followed by applause as the hearse drove off.

One onlooker told the Bury Times: "It's unbelieveable. The whole community has come out to pay their respects, which is wonderful."

Dr Jeff Schryer, the chairman of Bury Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "Dr. Al-Dubbaisi was a much-loved, compassionate and experienced GP."

His daughter Zainab added: "Dr Saad Al-Dubbaisi was the most loving and kind husband and father, he will forever be in our hearts."

"Wherever he worked he spread kindness and warmth with his gentle smile and big heart, and was loved by his patients. We will miss him always," she added.

"We are extremely grateful to all the NHS staff who looked after him during his battle with Covid-19.”

Al-Dubbaisi graduated from the Baghdad School of Medicine in 1983 before moving to the UK to practice. He was well known within the United Iraqi Medical Association for the UK and Ireland.

He lived in Walshaw with his wife Monah and two daughters who are also doctors, according to the Bury Times.

The doctor is thought to be the first GP in Greater Manchester to die from coronavirus.

Health workers in the UK have complained about the government's lack of preparedness for the pandemic, including a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical and care staff.

The UK government announced in April that it was launching a formal investigation into why Covid-19 has disproportionately affected people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

The review, led by the National Health Service (NHS) and Public Health England, follows findings that more than a third of seriously ill coronavirus patients were from BAME communities, who represent just 13 per cent of the general population.

The probe follows calls from the Labour Party and the British Medical Association (BMA) for an investigation into why non-white British seem to be more affected by the disease, including a "deeply disturbing" number of deaths of BAME health workers.

The first ten UK doctors who died from Covid-19 were from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, the head of the BMA, said last month: "We have heard the virus does not discriminate between individuals but there's no doubt there appears to be a manifest disproportionate severity of infection in BAME people and doctors. This has to be addressed – the government must act now."

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