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Healthcare assistant becomes 24th Filipino frontline worker to die with Covid-19

A “quiet and gentle” healthcare assistant has become the 24th Filipino frontline health worker to die after contracting Covid-19.

Carlos Sia, who worked for the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, died on Friday May 15 after spending several weeks in intensive care.

The “much-loved” 62-year-old had worked for the trust for five years, having originally come from Bacolod City in the Philippines.

He is the 24th Filipino to die amid claims that Filipinos have the highest death rate of staff across the NHS and care services during the pandemic.

The PA news agency has verified 180 frontline health and care deaths, of which approximately 16% were people of Filipino heritage.

Official figures indicate that around 18,500 Filipinos worked in the NHS in England as of March 2019, roughly 1.5% of the estimated 1.2 million total workforce.

A GoFundMe page has been set up in memory of Carlos Sia (GoFundMe/PA)
A GoFundMe page has been set up in memory of Carlos Sia (GoFundMe/PA)

In a letter to staff, chief executive Matthew Hopkins said: “Carlos’s quiet, gentle and respectful nature, his generosity of spirit, his sense of humour and his calming influence also made him popular with patients.

“We have lost a valued member of our Trust family – and in Carlos’s case, the word ‘family’ has a special relevance as his wife Cindy works on Avon 2 as a healthcare assistant and his daughter Clair is a nurse on our acute stroke unit.

“Cindy and Clair are particularly in our thoughts at this sad time, as are all Carlos’s colleagues who worked alongside him and those who cared for him through his illness.”

Staff have been offered specialist support from the trust.

Mr Hopkins added: “We still have some way to go before this current outbreak is behind us, and I would again like to thank you all for the extraordinary efforts you are making for our patients.”

A fundraiser, set up in Mr Sia’s memory, describes him as a “truly dedicated NHS hero”.

He has a wife and daughter in the UK, and three sons living in the Philippines.

The Philippines’ ambassador to the UK has called for key workers to be “properly protected”.

Antonio Lagdameo told PA: “I urge the NHS to ensure that those heroes who put their lives on the line for all of us are properly protected and equipped as they do their job.”

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