'Truly wonderful' NHS call operator, 60, dies from coronavirus

‘Truly wonderful’ NHS call operator, 60, dies from coronavirus as his nurse daughter who works in same hospital says ‘loss is immeasurable’

  • John Doyle, 60, from Wolverhampton, was a telephonist at New Cross Hospital
  • Passed away on March 30 after suffering respiratory problems from Covid-19 
  • He previously worked for West Midlands Police for 26 years as a CCTV operator
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

An NHS hospital telephonist who was a ‘truly wonderful man’ has become the latest healthcare worker to die after contracting Covid-19.

John Doyle, 60, from Fordhouses, Wolverhampton, who became the first male telephonist to work at New Cross Hospital, died on March 30 after suffering respiratory problems as a result of the virus.

Mr Doyle, who had previously worked for West Midlands Police for 26 years as a CCTV operator and civilian support worker, is among the NHS workers who have fought on the frontline to help battle the coronavirus crisis and have died of the illness. 

The latest death comes as the UK continues to control the spread of the virus which has now claimed the lives of 28,734 people across the country.

Hospital telephonist John Doyle, 60, from Fordhouses, Wolverhampton, died on March 30 after contracting coronavirus 

Mr Doyle, who had previously worked for West Midlands Police for 26 years, became the first male telephonist to work at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton (pictured)

Mr Doyle, whose death was confirmed by The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, was married to Kate, 59, who has worked as a ward clerk in obstetrics and gynaecology at New Cross Hospital, for 34 years.

He also leaves a daughter, Amy Pearce, 34, who is a nursing associate in paediatrics at New Cross Hospital, and three grandchildren.

His daughter said: ‘My dad was a truly wonderful man who we all miss dearly. The loss is immeasurable but so is the love left behind.’ 

Following Mr Doyle’s death, colleagues have paid tribute to the ‘lovely man’ who was a part of the healthcare team at the hospital. 

Switchboard supervisor Bernadette Tranter said: ‘He was an exceptional telephone operator and a lovely, lovely man. He was our first male operator but he fit in brilliantly as part of the family here.’

Meanwhile head of switchboard and health records Sam Smith said: ‘John was a very kind, genuine and hard-working member of staff and we will greatly miss his presence in the Switchboard.’  

Mr Doyle’s former sergeant in the police force, Steve Townsend, said: ‘John spent 26 years of his life serving the communities of the West Midlands, keeping the people of Wolverhampton and Wednesfield safe by monitoring CCTV, directing officers to hidden offenders, potential disorders and wanted offenders or in face-to-face support over the counter in the police station helping resolve issues or those in need. 

‘The fact that on leaving the police family, he continued to try to help others by joining the NHS at New Cross, tells you all you need to know about what drove this man – his desire to help others. 

‘John was a kind, friendly, quietly-spoken gentleman with a wicked sense of humour who was always willing to go above and beyond his remit to help anyone who asked. It is testament to his friendliness and popularity that news of his sad passing was devastating to those who knew him. 

‘John was a happy, loving family man who will be remembered fondly by all who had the honour and privilege of knowing him.’ 

Mr Doyle’s funeral took place at Bushbury Crematorium on April 30, The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust confirmed.

The tragic death come as the coronavirus crisis continues to claim the lives of brave doctors, nurses and support staff helping fight the pandemic on the frontline.

On April 30, Mark Stanley, 57, who was stationed at Halifax Ambulance Station in West Yorkshire, died in Calderdale Royal Hospital after a week-long battle with the coronavirus.  

Mr Stanley, who was a paramedic for more than 30 years after military service in the Life Guards, leaves behind a wife and two daughters. 

Mark Stanley, 57, (left and right) who was stationed at Halifax Ambulance Station in West Yorkshire, died in Calderdale Royal Hospital on Thursday after contracting Covid-19

Last Thursday, colleagues gathered outside Mr Stanely’s station in Halifax to pay tribute to him during the Clap For Carers

Hospital consultant Dr Nasir Khan, worked at Dewsbury and District Hospital in West Yorkshire, died last week after contracting Covid-19

His colleagues gathered outside his station in Halifax last week to pay tribute to him during the Clap For Carers. 

Friend Mark Rattigan, who is also a paramedic, said: ‘He was as fit as you can get for a 57-year-old. You would struggle to find a 30-year-old with his level of fitness. But it’s taken him down in a week.’ 

It came as Dr Nasir Khan, from Bolton, Greater Manchester, who was as a locum doctor working for The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, died in hospital on April 29.

Dr Khan, who was a father-of-three, joined The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust in November and had been working at Dewsbury and District Hospital when he fell ill with the virus about a month ago. 

He was admitted to the Bolton NHS Foundation Trust on April 6, The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said.

More than £34,000 has been donated to a fundraising appeal set up to help his family.  

Martin Barkley, Chief Executive of The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: ‘In the six months he worked with us Dr Khan had become a very well-liked and valued member of the team with everyone, including nursing and junior doctor colleagues. 

‘They have spoken of his incredibly positive nature, his kindness and his compassion for his patients. He also showed fantastic leadership: he was absolutely dedicated to the well-being of the junior staff he was working with, and his thoughtfulness and considerate manner shone out to everyone who met him.

‘We consider ourselves very fortunate to have had such a doctor as Dr Khan working for the Trust, and we are all devastated to learn of his death. It is impossible to put into words how much our hearts go out to his family and friends.

‘This news is a terrible reminder of the consequences of this pandemic that so many families are having to face. 

‘My thanks go to every member of our staff at Mid Yorkshire who – in the same spirit of courage and compassion that Dr Khan so clearly showed – continue to leave their families at home, put themselves on the frontline, and come into work every day to care for our patients.’

Dr Furqan Ali Siddiqui, who worked at Manchester Royal Infirmary, was at the end of his NHS training when he caught the virus

Dr Furqan Ali Siddiqui, 50, who was plastic surgeon at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, also passed away after he was placed on a ventilator for four weeks.

The father of six, who arrived from Pakistan only two months ago, fell ill within weeks of starting his job. 

Paying tribute to the doctor, a spokesperson from the Association of Pakistani Physicians and Surgeons said: ‘Furqan Siddiqui was a doctor working in NHS in Manchester Royal infirmary and was coming to the end of his training. 

‘Despite the risk to his own health and life, he continued to care for his patients. Unfortunately, he himself fell ill with Covid-19.’ 

A spokesman for Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) said: ‘It is with great sadness that we can announce the death of a member of staff who worked at Wythenshawe Hospital.

‘Dr Furqan Ali Siddiqui was a clinical fellow in our burns and plastics department at Wythenshawe Hospital and sadly died on April 30. He was being treated for Covid-19.

‘We extend our sincere condolences and deepest sympathies to Furqan’s family and all our thoughts are with them at this incredibly difficult time.

‘Furqan joined MFT in October 2019 and had also undertaken a significant amount of work at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, which is part of our trust.

‘Furqan was a valued and much respected member of the team at MFT and will be sadly missed by all those who knew him and worked with him.’

Jermaine Wright, 46, (pictured) who worked in a hospital pharmacy, died at the Royal Brompton Hospital, in Chelsea, West London, from coronavirus

Nurse Keith Dunnington, 54, from South Shields, near Newcastle, died from coronavirus after working on the frontline at Gateshead’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Meanwhile Jermaine Wright, 46, who worked in a hospital pharmacy and was vice-chairman of the Hackney and Leyton Sunday Football league, died at the Royal Brompton Hospital, in Chelsea, West London, on April 27. 

More than £6,000 has been since been raised for Mr Wright’s family through a fundraising page.      

Chief pharmacist Ann Mounsey said: ‘Jermaine had been part of the Imperial pharmacy family since March 2015, having previously worked at the Royal Brompton for some 14 years and previous to that at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Jermaine was an inpatient at the Brompton when he died, and we know that the team there share our grief.’

She added: ‘It is difficult not to fall into cliché when talking about Jermaine, he was kind, thoughtful, generous and always up for a laugh. Football however was Jermaine’s absolute passion and, outside of work, he was an essential part of amateur football at Hackney Marshes for over 20 years through his role as both referee and numerous other roles including vice chairman and fixtures and result secretary. 

‘His loss is felt keenly there and we are grateful to the members of that community who have contacted us to offer friendship and support. In addition we have received lovely messages of support from many other pharmacy departments in North West London and further afield as well as from the wider Imperial Trust.’ 

Long-standing staff nurse and father-of-two Keith Dunnington, 54, from South Shields, died on April 19 after supporting the NHS frontline in its battle with Covid-19. 

Yvonne Ormston MBE, chief executive of Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust said: ‘It is with tremendous sadness that we announce the passing of Keith Dunnington.

‘Keith was a long-serving Staff Nurse who worked on medical, surgical and elderly wards here at Gateshead Health NHS FT.

‘Keith was a popular and hard-working member of our fantastic nursing team. He will be very missed by his co-workers here at the trust and by the patients he cared for.’ 



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