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Tributes to ‘pioneering’ Forest Gate GP who becomes fifth to die of Covid-19 in the UK

PUBLISHED: 17:00 22 April 2020 | UPDATED: 18:26 27 April 2020

The family of Dr Yusuf Patel, who died after contracting Covid-19, wants to raise £30,000 for good causes to continue his legacy. Picture: Mas Patel

The family of Dr Yusuf Patel, who died after contracting Covid-19, wants to raise £30,000 for good causes to continue his legacy. Picture: Mas Patel

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Tributes have been paid to a doctor who has died after contracting Covid-19.

Woodgrange Medical Practice in Forest Gate. Picture: Muhammad Naqvi.Woodgrange Medical Practice in Forest Gate. Picture: Muhammad Naqvi.

Tributes have been paid to a doctor who has died after contracting Covid-19.

Dr Yusuf Patel of Woodgrange Medical Practice in Woodgrange Road, Forest Gate, passed away on Monday, April 20.

He is the fifth GP to die of the virus in the UK and had returned to the frontline of the fight against coronavirus after recovering from prostate cancer. He was 61.

The practice said in a statement: “It is with a very heavy heart that we have to inform you of the sad loss of Dr Yusuf Ismail Patel GP principal and founder of Woodgrange NHS Medical Practice.

“After a valiant struggle with Covid, Dr Patel finally succumbed to his illness on Monday the 20th of April.

“This is a tragic loss to all his family, friends, colleagues and patients. The pain is immeasurable.

“He has touched and enriched many lives and we miss him dearly.”

The statement ends with an invitation to send condolences and best wishes by email to woodgrange.noreply@nhs.net with the subject heading Dr Yusuf Patel.

Dr Patel was of Gujarati heritage and came to Britain as a child from Malawi.

He went to Loxford School in Ilford and qualified from Sheffield Medical School in 1984, completing his GP training in Blackburn.

From 1989, he built up Woodgrange Medical Practice, starting with no patients when he bought the premises, which had been a derelict bank, to 15,000 today.

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His family said in a statement: “It was a source of real pride to him. He wanted to give back to the community in Forest Gate by making sure the practice was one of the best in the area.

“He felt passionate to make sure his patients had the best medical care they needed. He was very proud of east London. He loved the area and people there.

“He was a very pious Muslim who cared for all communities.”

Woodgrange Medical Practice was rated outstanding by health watchdog the Care Quality Commission in 2017.

A passionate West Ham United season ticket holder, Dr Patel enjoyed reading classical literature, the cinema and was a big fan of the TV comedy Only Fools and Horses.

Besides being a GP in Newham since 1989, he also acted as vice chairman of GP federation Newham Health Collaborative.

Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, in a statement expressed her sorrow, describing Dr Patel as “a pioneering practitioner”.

“Reflecting his dedication to Newham for more than 30 years, over recent weeks he was on the frontline in helping our residents during this Covid-19 crisis,” she said.

Friend and councillor, Mas Patel, said: “The whole community has been very moved at the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr Patel.

“Along with many other doctors and medical professionals who have given their lives, Dr Patel sadly lost his fight and therein lies a lesson, a story of sacrifice and passion for the community.”

Dr Patel leaves behind his wife, son, two daughters, two brothers, sister and mother.

A proposed memorial for Dr Patel at Woodgrange Medical Practice on Tuesday 28 April at 3pm has been cancelled.

Woodgrange Medical Practice will advise the community when an appropriate event can safely take place.


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