Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust consultant psychiatrist dies after battle with long Covid

Dr Saifullah Bangash (known as Saif) (photo: Leeds and York Partnership NHS Trust)Dr Saifullah Bangash (known as Saif) (photo: Leeds and York Partnership NHS Trust)
Dr Saifullah Bangash (known as Saif) (photo: Leeds and York Partnership NHS Trust)
A consultant psychiatrist at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has died after a battle with long Covid.

Dr Saifullah Bangash, known as Saif, died in his native Pakistan on Sunday, June 13.

He worked in the Trust's Perinatal Mental Health Service.

Saif contracted coronavirus in the summer of 2020 and went on to develop long Covid.

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He travelled to Pakistan in April 2021 to see his father and during this time his condition worsened and, despite receiving medical attention, he died weeks later from lung compilations related to long Covid.

Saif was an advocate of the coronavirus vaccine and in March 2021 he appeared in a video as part of the Trust's #JabDone campaign to promote the uptake of the vaccination within ethnic minority communities.

Amanda Naylor, Operational Manager for Perinatal Services, said: “Saif had a very positive attitude and was a big part of our team.

"He was a very caring and supportive person and he did fantastic work promoting our service to diverse communities.

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“To give you some insight to his generous nature, when he won a national essay competition earlier this year he kindly donated the prize money to his colleagues. He made a huge impact and will be sorely missed.”

Lead Consultant in the Trust’s Perinatal Mental Health Service, Dr Gopi Narayan, said: “We were thrilled when Saif returned to us in October 2020 as a Consultant Psychiatrist after spending part of his time as a Higher Trainee with the service.

"He cared about and valued this service and team and the families we provide a service for.

"His sad passing will be a huge loss for us and the closing statement in his prize-winning essay never felt truer:

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‘In a perpetuating cycle of love, loss and life we must endure, assuredly never alone’.

“Thank you Saif, we will all miss you.”

Saif worked in medical and surgical posts as a House Officer in Pakistan in 2009-10 and undertook foundation training at Leeds University Medical School which he completed in 2012.

He worked in the NHS from January 2011.

Saif was one of the first cohort of doctors to complete the Royal College of Psychiatry’s Credential in Perinatal Psychiatry Programme.

He was awarded the Quality Improvement Project of the Year at the National Association of Psychiatric Intensive Care and Low Secure Units Conference in 2018 for quality improvement work undertaken on PICU.

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In March 2021, Saif won a prestigious national prize in a contest organised by the Royal College of Psychiatrists with a 1,500-word essay entitled How the COVID-19 pandemic has taught me to be a better psychiatrist.

He appeared on a webinar panel with mental health advocate, actor and TV personality, Stephen Fry and former Labour spokesperson and mental health champion Alistair Campbell.

Tributes have poured in from Saif's colleagues and friends, branding him as "inspirational" and describing him as "humble, generous, compassionate and ever so helpful", including reference to his "warmth towards patients and colleagues".

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