GP lecturer is one-man care package service for frontline staff

A GP and part-time tutor at The University of Manchester has delivered over 450 care packages to staff working in the public services who have been living in hotels during the COVID-19 Lockdown.

Dr Ali Haider whose practice is in Longsight - has spent his spare time visiting police officers, firefighters as well as nursing home, pharmacy and NHS staff to deliver food, toiletries and treats.

Early on in the crisis he decided to start working Fridays for the GP practise for free.

But the doctor, who lives in Sale, felt moved to do more when he heard that Hotel Football in Stretford was putting up NHS workers for free.

He was even more motivated after hearing how fellow GPs had died after contracting coronavirus, including - Dr Saad Al-Dubbaisi, a much-loved doctor at Garden City Medical Practice in Holcombe Brook, Bury.

After forking out a considerable sum of his own money, - at one point over half his monthly salary- he contacted the CEOs of different companies eventually started to receive give-aways.

As demand grew, retail giants including Tesco, Asda, Marks and Spencer and Costco all participated and now his house is full of gifts including toiletries, food and clothing, ready for packaging.

At weekends and after work, he has been bagging up the gifts with his parents and his sister and then distributes the packages – even during the period of Ramadan when he was fasting.

In each package he attaches a note saying thank you, and giving his phone number so the staff can text or call if they someone to chat to.

Wearing PPE he paid for by himself, Dr Ali has been dropping off packages to NHS staff staying at Hotel Football, The Stock Exchange and Great John Street Hotel in the city centre as well as police stations, fire stations and care homes.

“It’s all about sending some love to people who are working against the odds,” said the Swedish doctor whose family originate from Basra in Iraq

“I want to be able to say to myself I did something of value during the lockdown. But I also want to highlight the amazing things these people are doing.

” I have been absolutely overwhelmed by the response of these companies. It has been really uplifting.

"It’s been hard work, but there are people who are working a lot harder than me. At least I can go home to my family each night."

I want to be able to say to myself I did something of value during the lockdown. But I also want to highlight the amazing things these people are doing
Dr Ali Haider

Dr Haider has also become an informal counselling service for doctors working with patients suffering from COVID-19 disease.

Up to 6 doctors and nurses every day- sometimes senior ones- have been calling him to talk about what they are going through.

He said: “It’s been extraordinarily tough for medics, not being with their families and working in an environment which can be frightening.

“But I think it helps that they can talk to another doctor.”

As the lockdown starts to loosen, Dr Haider hopes the public’s love for NHS workers will be sustained far after the crisis is over.

He added: “As a doctor I feel appreciated. Yes the pandemic has causes so much suffering – and we shall not forget that. But it’s brought a lot of positivity too and I hope that will be sustained long into the future.”

Though he’s hoping for some more donations in the next few days, some of his some resources are now dwindling

So he wants to hear from groups or individuals who want to help, or need help to put together more packages to go to staff as a thank you for their hard work.

To help Dr Haider, email him at haider.ali1@nhs.net and visit his Instagram account Instagram account: Health_fitness_doc

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