An Egyptian NHS Doctor who has been critically ill after complications from contracting Covid-19 spoke for the first time regarding his fears of being removed from the UK by the Home Office, while he lay in his hospital bed on a ventilator.
Locum Consultant Cardiologist at York teaching hospital, Dr Basem Enany, has treated many Coronavirus patients. He himself was placed on a ventilator after developing Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a rare complication of Covid-19 and other viruses, which has left him partially paralysed. He is now able to breathe unaided but is believed to have a long rehabilitation journey ahead of him.
He said that he had the usual symptoms of Covid, cough, fever, loss of taste and smell but then he began to develop a weakness throughout his body. This left him unable to move or breathe properly and he had never seen this happen to any of the Covid patients he had treated.
Dr Enany has a work visa that is due to expire very soon. He and his wife and four young daughters fear they could possibly face removal from the UK as it is very unlikely that he will be well enough by December to renew his visa. He has regained partial use of his hands but his legs remain paralysed and he is waiting to be moved from Leeds general infirmary to a specialist neuro-rehabilitation facility.
Dr Enany thanked the dedicated NHS workers who have been looking after him and the more than 4,000 people who have made donations to a crowdfund that will pay for his legal and medical bills.
While the Home Office has said that it has no plans to deport the family, Enany does not know what kind of replacement visa he will receive, how long it will be for and whether it will allow work.
Enany thanked the Home Office for its reassurances but is still anxious as he doesn’t have any solid documents in his hands and his visa will expire soon.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “We’ve spoken to Dr Enany’s family to reassure them that their immigration status is not in jeopardy and they are not facing an enforcement action. They are here entirely legally and have every right to remain in the UK. We will continue to work with them to find a way forward. Our thoughts remain with Dr Enany and his family at this difficult time”.
There is to be a second reading of a private members bill from the Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine, calling for indefinite leave to remain be granted to migrant NHS workers who have cared for patients during the pandemic. In her presentation of the bill she says that these NHS workers will be vital during the second wave of the pandemic.