HEALTH workers who are being inspired to keep fighting Covid-19 in memory of a beloved doctor who died of the virus have been personally thanked by the Prime Minister.

Last May, during the first wave of the pandemic, Dr Poornima Nair became the first female GP to die from coronavirus following a prolonged fight.

More than a year later, the 56-year-old’s colleagues at Station View Medical Centre in Bishop Auckland, and the team at Knights Pharmacy next door continue to be inspired by her legacy.

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To thank them and other NHS workers, Boris Johnson held a special Downing Street reception and invited Pete Horrocks, Superintendent Pharmacist at Knights Pharmacy, and Sarah Westgarth, practice manager at Station View Medical Centre.

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Ms Westgarth said: “Losing Dr Nair last year was a huge shock to the practice; however it has given every member of our team a great passion to fight against Covid in memory of her.”

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At the Number 10 reception, Mr Johnson heard from them both about the work they have been doing to support people in the south of County Durham.

Mr Horrocks was the only pharmacist at the event, which was attended by less than 20 NHS workers including nurses and doctors.

He told Mr Johnson how Knights Pharmacy, which opened its Bishop Auckland vaccination centre in late January, has worked with the Primary Care Network to administered more than 30,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines.

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He said: “It was a great honour to be recognised for the work we have done.

“He started with a short address giving thanks to all the workers across the NHS, acknowledging their own personal challenges, described his own Covid fight and gratitude for the treatment he had received, and went on to present his hope for the rest of the year.

“It was great to meet the Prime Minister face-to-face and hear him speaking openly, taking an individual interest in everybody who had attended.

“He hosted the event with equal amounts of compassion, thanks and humour.

“I will never forget this recognition from the PM and I am so proud to help the NHS in its response to the pandemic.”

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Bishop Auckland MP, Dehenna Davison, said: “I’ve visited both Sarah and Pete at their practices this year. Their dedication is incredible and I am so proud that the Prime Minister has recognised the achievements that are happening here in Bishop Auckland.”