Ahmed Kazmi played two sell-out shows in Notting Hill with his act 'Doctor in the House: what your doctor really thinks' and all the proceeds are going to the Grenfell victims.
As well as the money made from the shows he has set up a JustGiving page to use his philosophy of laughter being a good medicine to help those who most need it.
His clinic is less than 800- metres from Grenfell Tower and several of his patients were residents there so Ahmed felt a personal need to do something due to the tragic circumstances.
Describing the scene as eerie and like something from an apocalypse film, Ahmed and his surgery spent the doing their upmost to comfort anyone in need.
Ahmed struggles to describe what he felt that day but speaks highly of what happened next: "I didn't see or feel any despair or terror. The overwhelming feeling was of love, unity, and solidarity.
"Every street corner of was taken over by agencies there to help: a makeshift housing office, a lost relatives bureau, the Red Cross, and a doctor and nurse station to name a few.
"People arrived one after the other with food, clothes, and toiletries.
"They quickly sorted the items and displayed them and helped the affected pack what supplies they needed into bags.
"A group of young black Muslim boys, who were fasting themselves, walked around with jumbo pizzas offering everyone slices."
Due to the huge amount of generosity shown by the public Ahmed felt slightly redundant as a doctor as the emergency centres were so well staffed: "I sat down on the floor and played with some children. I didn't use my stethoscope those hours while I was at the centre, but I still feel I was a doctor.
"I think that sometimes empathy and witnessing someone's grief are as important a part of our role as procedures or prescribing."
ALL SMILES: The Dewsbury doctor says she is delighted to be breaking down taboos in South Asian cultures
Award-winning Dewsbury doctor continues to break down BME barriers
When 44-year-old Safia Jabeen arrived in the UK from Pakistan in 2005, she probably didn’t realise the huge impact she would have on the health of the nation’s bedrooms.
After training as a doctor in her home country, Safia began work initially in gynaecology in Dewsbury.
However, after working in various clinics at the start of her career, she noticed that there was a distinct lack of Asian women who came forward with sexual health problems at her clinic.
Despite already completing over five years of training in her field, she took the decision to retrain in sexual health in aid of women she had spoke to in the UK.
“When I was treating them for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), I realised they had no idea what I was talking about,” Safia said. “I came to realise that there were some major reasons behind this.
“Back in Pakistan, there aren’t any specialist clinics and the reason for that is because it’s a big taboo over there and sex is seen as being extremely private.
“You can’t open a sexual health service over there, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get checked. Language is also a big barrier too.”
Being the determined and dedicated doctor that she is, Safia immediately decided to do something about it.
“I realised that we were welcoming many Asians to our clinics here, but they were mostly men. Even when the women came with their husbands, they didn’t realise why they were getting treated.”
Safia thought she had better do some community work to gain trust in the community.
“When I started going out, it wasn’t easy, there was a lot of resistance,” she admitted.
“I had to approach these women in public places that they had chosen to gather for other reasons, such as social meeting points. It was here that I began to breach the topic of STDs and at first, they didn’t want to hear about it.”
After contacting local councillors, they advised Safia to arrange the event around ‘general health’ as to not unnecessarily startle the women.
LEADING BY EXAMPLE: Safia Jabeen has been recognised by a number of professional organisations for her pioneering work in Dewsbury
Slowly over time, she began to build a rapport with the women, attending events as a guest and not a doctor, gaining an inside knowledge of the group’s mindset.
“I started off talking about general health and then gradually moved to the topic of gynaecological problems which then led me to the topic of sexual health,” she said. “It took me around three years to get to that point where people were listening.
“I spoke to hospitals and faith groups and also did a survey and one-two-one sessions in mosques and temples. I did this all in my private time.
“The majority of Asian women I talked to had no idea about Gonorrhoea and diseases like that. People were eager to receive the information and it helps that I can speak a number of languages including Urdu and Gujarati. Things moved quickly after that.”
With such a need for these services, Safia opened up her own clinic called Chandni Clinic - which means ‘moonlight’ in Urdu.
Women then started making appointments and were seen by a female doctor who could speak to them in their own language in a completely confidential environment.
“We initially started the clinic up for two days a week but there was such a good response that we had no choice but to turn it into a seven-day clinic,” she said. “Some women had been suffering for years. Some had come as far as Birmingham and Coventry, and beyond.
“I felt sorry that they had been in pain for so long when they could be simply treated. It then became word of mouth. It was established in 2013 and after six months, it was so well-known locally that we won a national award from Brook Sexual Health in 2014.”
Safia is confident that women have now started to accept that sexual health is important and they now visit her clinic openly.
Her work in Dewsbury hasn’t gone unnoticed either. Councils in Bradford, Leeds and even Ireland have approached her with the hope of working towards a similar plan for their regions – work Safia is eager to undertake.
At the end of the day, for the Dewsbury doc, it’s all about her patients.
She concluded: “I do all this for the women, so they know that they do not have to feel any shame.
“We see hundreds of women every year at the clinic now – that’s a huge deal.”
If you think you might need to talk confidentially about your sexual health, you do not need to be referred by a GP to attend Chandni clinic. To make an appointment, please call 01924 816120 or 01924 816121.
GUILTY: Farhan Mirza was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison for secretly filming himself having sex with women in order to later blackmail them
A fake doctor, who kept ‘props’ at home and in his car to appear as a medical professional, has been jailed for eight and a half years after secretly filming himself having sex with women.
Farhan Mirza, 38, from Abertillery, South Wales, used his fake profession as a way of impressing women who he would then sleep with and video to blackmail.
All of his victims were Muslim and were targeted, according to Mirza’s trial, because of the shame which would have been brought on the women’s families should the film be made public.
In one case, Mirza also threatened to send the video to a woman’s family in Pakistan, where she feared they could be targeted by extremist religious groups.
This week he was convicted at Cardiff Crown Court on charges of sexual assault, blackmail, voyeurism, theft and fraud against three victims.
His actions were described by Judge Tom Crowther as ‘pure misogyny’.
Speaking to the court, prosecutor Timothy Evans said victims were left facing ‘humiliation’ after meeting Mirza.
“It is the prosecution’s case that Mr Mirza is a particular kind of sexual predator and he chooses his victims carefully,” he said.
“Because of their religious and ethnic backgrounds, he targeted them because of the terror, embarrassment and humiliation that each of these ladies would have felt in their minds by what this defendant did to them.”
In all the cases, Mirza met the women via the dating website, Shaadi, where he used a fake profile to entrap women looking for long term relationships.
In an attempt to impress the women, he would keep a stethoscope in his car and hung surgical scrubs in the wardrobe of his home.
He told another woman that he was an IT manager and came from a successful family.
In truth, Mirza was an IT worker and taxi driver who lived with his mother.
His shocking crimes only came to light when one woman, who he was in a ‘relationship’ with, found intimate images in his home of her and other women. She also discovered £70,000 in cash – money Mirza had reportedly gathered through blackmail.
PC Pat Maguire, the officer in charge of the investigation for Gwent Police, praised the victims for helping to bring Mirza to justice.
“I would like to thank the victims for their courage to come forward and report these offences to the police,” he said.
“They have shown great bravery and dignity throughout.”
DISHEARTENING: Junior doctor’s leader Dr Johann Malawana says: “We have been arguing for 300 days about issues which have damaged junior doctors’ morale and the quality of patient care for much longer than that, and would continue to do so.”
Many junior doctors have vowed to leave Britain to move overseas because of the proposed changes
In what has been seen as the most bitter, destabilising conflict the NHS has ever seen, the dispute that arose over 300 days ago when the government proposed the junior doctor’s contract has seen fresh “intensive” talks.
The views of NHS Employers and the Government are being represented by Sir David Dalton, who was involved in the original talks and heads up Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, while the BMA is being represented by Dr Johann Malawana.
Junior doctor’s leader Dr Johann Malawana told the BMA’s junior doctors conference that no agreement has yet been reached but said a more conciliatory tone had been struck.
He told the conference in London: “Our attitude in these negotiations has been not to trade grievances but to resolve them.
“Our aim has been to rediscover the common ground that is so great but so easily neglected – the shared interest of everyone in the health service to improve care for our patients.
“The temptation has been to relive the resentments, which are many, but instead we have tried to rediscover the opportunities.”
However, he reiterated criticisms of proposed changes to junior doctors’ contracts which he warned would leave services and doctors dangerously overstretched.
He warned many junior doctors were leaving Britain to move overseas because of the proposed changes, which saw the first-ever all-out strike in NHS history.
He said: “We have been arguing for 300 days about issues which have damaged junior doctors’ morale and the quality of patient care for much longer than that, and would continue to do so.
“It’s not the 300 days, but these days that matter now. We’re talking. They’re listening. We’re listening too.
“If this were a movie, I’d now pull out a large envelope with the word ‘deal’ written on it. We’re not there, and I can’t even add the word ‘yet’ to the end of that sentence.”
But he was more optimistic and the talks have seen a new “spirit of constructive engagement” emerge.
Signalling their commitment to the talks, he added: “Now that we’re talking, let’s keep talking.”
Chairman of the arbitration service Acas, Sir Brendan Barber, said: "Both parties have committed themselves over the whole of this week to highly intensive negotiations in an effort to resolve this long running dispute.
"The talks have been conducted in a constructive and positive atmosphere. In my judgment some real progress has been made to address outstanding issues.
"I reached the view, however, in the last 24 hours that a limited amount of additional time would be needed to give the process a chance of reaching a successful conclusion."
There are hopes on both sides that a final agreement can be reached that deals with the crucial issue of Saturday pay.
The BMA has said any deal would need to be put before junior doctors in a ballot, though that is expected to take several weeks.
If the talks fail, the Government has indicated it will push ahead with the imposition of the contract.
What medical students at University of Manchester think…
I support the junior doctors in their efforts to oppose the unfair contract that the government is trying to force upon them. As a reality which is only a few years away for us as Medical students I hope a safer agreement is reached so patient care is not compromised - Unnamed, Studying Medicine at University of Manchester
The doctors have a right to strike if they have good reason to believe they are being treated unfairly and patient care is compromised - Dev Parekh, studying Physics at University of Manchester
The proposed contract makes me worried about stretching the junior doctors too thin, and the adverse effect this will have on patient safety. #notsafenotfair - Hamza Akhtar, studying Medicine at University of Manchester
What’s the junior doctors' row about?
The dispute doesn’t just involve new doctors. The term junior doctor is misleading - it covers medics who have just graduated from medical school through to those who have more than a decade of experience on the front line.
Ministers drew up plans to change the contract in 2012, but talks broke down in 2014.
They restarted at the end of last year at the conciliation service Acas but a deal could not be reached and so ministers announced in February they would be imposing the contract from this summer.
The starting salary for a junior doctor is currently just under £23,000 a year, but with extra payments for things such as unsociable hours, this can quite easily top £30,000.
In total, there are 55,000 junior doctors in England - representing a third of the medical workforce. The BMA has just over 37,700 members.
Under the new proposed contract basic pay is to be increased by 13.5% on average. But that comes at a price: other elements of the pay package are to be curbed, including what constitutes unsociable hours.
Day hours on a Saturday will be paid at a normal rate, while extra premiums that are being offered for night and the rest of the weekend are lower than what is currently paid.
Guaranteed pay increases linked to time in the job are also to be scrapped and replaced with a system linked to progression through set training stages, so some doctors find their pay will go up more slowly during their time as a junior medic.
The changes have partly been designed to make it cheaper to roster extra doctors on at weekends.
Therefore, medics are likely to find they are working more weekends, which, under the existing contract, would have led to extra pay.
New doctors starting their career in the NHS under this contract may be worse off than they would have been if they started under the current deal.
Junior doctors already work weekends - in fact, they provide the bulk of the medical staffing on Saturdays and Sundays.
One of the most contentious areas of the dispute is that due to being overworked death rates are higher at weekends.
The health secretary Jeremy Hunt has argued that he wants to improve care on Saturdays and Sundays because research shows patients are more likely to die if they are admitted on a weekend.
A study published by the British Medical Journal in September found those admitted on Saturdays had a 10% higher risk of death and on Sundays 15% higher compared with Wednesdays.
The dispute over the contract is an England-only issue.
Scotland and Wales have both said they will be sticking to their existing contracts, while Northern Ireland has yet to make a decision.
This is largely because they do not have the pressures on costs in terms of seven-day services.
After last week’s demonstrations in Leeds against NHS reforms, one of the biggest protests the city has seen in years, thousands of people took to the streets.
We caught up with a Leeds doctor to see what his thoughts were on the state of the NHS; discover how he deals with the trauma of patients who never make a full recovery and hear about the story of a little boy who left a big impression.
As a child, Faraaz Bhatti, aged 30, wanted to be James Bond. After “working solidly at school” he is now a doctor in a busy Emergency department - which is about as high-adrenalin as a job gets: shifts often leave him like both of the verbs in James Bond’s martini order - ‘shaken and stirred’.
Dr Bhatti admits that he was drawn into the world of medicine after watching BBC hit show Casualty and is now fully committed to a lifetime of scrubs and rubber gloves.
He says he now has high hopes that the NHS will “weather the storm it is currently raging”.
Dr Bhatti explains: “We see politicians play politics with the NHS far too often and it casts a shadow on a service that otherwise does so much for everyone, no matter who they are and regardless of their financial circumstances.
“It is something that we should be proud of, and although we are seeing dramatic changes such as hospital closures, contract revisions – the NHS will live on. I would hope to see a stronger NHS in ten years from now – but in order to achieve that I think we all have a responsibility, including the public, to help our politicians understand that the NHS is not a political bargaining tool.”
For Dr Bhatti, working as an Emergency Medicine Registrar, often means his shift pattern varies.
“I may be working days, evenings, nights or weekends and - believe it or not - my rota does stretch over seven days a week,” he continues.
“The minute I enter work, I pick up my first patient and patients continually book into the Emergency Department throughout the day. Somewhere half way through the day, I’ll take a short break and then carry on.
“After all, Emergency Medicine is a team effort, and everyone has to pull their weight and more in order to keep the department running as smoothly as it does.”
Every doctor has a patient that lingers in the memory, and Dr Bhatti is no different.
He recalls: “A number of years ago, I was diagnosing a young child – he was about four years old. He had come to see me with his mum...A very quiet kid.
“After the consultation, as he was walking towards the door, he turned around, ran across the room and gave me a big hug. His mum said that she had never seen him do that with anyone before.”
Dr Bhatti continued: “I think that moment highlights what being a doctor is all about. It is less about saving lives – although, we do that; but more about making a difference. I did very little for that child, and whilst he may not remember what he did in a few year’s time, it is a moment that will stick in my mind for the rest of my career.”
As a doctor on the Emergency Department, Dr Bhatti encounters sick patients every day.
He has had to develop “coping mechanisms” to deal with what he sees.
“Some of them get better, and some don’t,” Dr Bhatti adds quietly.
Dr Bhatti realises he is in a privileged position - being at the side of patients in their hour of need –and understands that his job comes with a “professional responsibility” to give the best care to those in his care.
“I think that we need to have an element of distance from an emotional aspect in order to deliver that care” he says. “I believe that a doctor-patient relationship is very different from what it used to be many years ago. However, it is when patients need us the most that we need to remain objective.
“It is possible to not get emotionally involved. That is not to say that at the end of a hard shift, some of the day doesn’t go home with us. After all, doctors are human.”
So what advice does Dr Bhatti have for people who have a keen desire to be a doctor themselves?
“If you have a dream, stick with it. Believe in yourself and work hard to make it happen. It is not easy becoming a doctor and it is much more difficult working as one if it is not something that you want to really do.”
He adds: “The commitment is life-long and the journey is tough but by the end, you have a sense of achievement that very few careers could give you. The bottom line is that if you want something, whether it is medicine or otherwise, you can work hard to achieve it. Just be prepared to put in some hard graft, and the rest will fall into place.”
WORK: The volunteers were deployed by charitable organisation. Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), and worked alongside Non-Governmental Organisations in Gaza
Volunteers complete selfless work in war-stricken region
A group of UK-funded NHS surgeons have returned from treating war-wounded patients in Gaza six months after the temporary ceasefire was agreed.
The volunteer doctors visited the region regularly for the past six months to carry out surgery on patients with severe injuries and train doctors in Gaza hospitals to improve their surgical capacities.
The team were deployed by Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), working with NGO Ideals, with £724,000 in funding from the Department for International Development (DFID).
The funding is part of DFID’s £37 million package of assistance in response to the 2014 Gaza crisis.
Justine Greening, International Development Secretary, said: “Six months on from the temporary ceasefire the situation in Gaza remains dire. Around 108,000 people were left homeless by the conflict and over 11,000 Palestinians were injured.
SUPPORT: Dr Naveen Cavale, a plastic and reconstructive surgery specialist, based at King’s in London, flew to Gaza in September to help train doctors and surgeons whilst also caring for wounded patients
“The vital work of these British surgeons is an important part of the UK effort to help the people of Gaza rebuild their lives. However none of the underlying causes of the conflict have yet been addressed. The UK is playing its part to help those caught up in the conflict, but it is clear the need for a political solution for Gaza is more urgent than ever.”
Amongst the patients who were treated by the British doctors, was nine-year-old Weam.
She was playing in the garden of her home with her father last summer when a rocket landed on them and exploded. She suffered major injuries to both her legs.
Her left leg had to be amputated below the knee, and now she needs a follow-up operation on her right foot.
RECOVERY: Nine-year-old Weam was hit by a rocket and had to have her lower left leg amputated under the care and supervision of British doctors
Two days after the operation, Dr Graeme Groom - an orthopaedic surgeon from King’s College Hospital in London, visited Weam with the team of medics to check up on how she’s recovering.
“I’m happy because they’ve removed all the shrapnel from my leg and I feel better now. Before my leg felt very heavy and now it feels free” she said.
Weam’s mother just wants her daughter to get back to normal.
“I’m so thankful to these doctors giving up their time to come here and help the people of Gaza” she says.
“The facilities here are not good, there is not enough equipment and everything, but with these people coming they bring hope.
“I hope there will be no more wars making problems for our children.
“I just want to see my daughter growing up, continuing her study, playing like other kids and eventually working.”
A doctor from Bradford Royal Infirmary said he was ‘incredibly humbled’ after learning of the news that he was to be honoured with his home country’s highest civilian honour.
Dr Sulleman Moreea, originally from Mauritius, was awarded the Grand Officer of the Star and Key of the Indian Ocean award earlier this month from the President of the African nation.
AWARDED: Dr Sulleman Moreea was given the highest civilian honour available in Mauritius for his tireless efforts in improving the country’s hospitals
Since 2008 he has worked closely with Mauritius’ Prime Minister, Navin Ramgoolam, and the country’s Ministry of Health, to introduce, train and improve endoscopies across the five hospitals.
Having done much of the work at his own expense, including travel, equipment, and training, and all in his own time, Dr Moreea was told he was to receive a medal for his efforts yet never expected to receive such a prestigious accolade.
“It was on Sunday 9th March that I got a phone call from the Mauritius Prime Minister telling me the country was going to give me a medal for the work I had done and it would be announced on Wednesday 12th,” he said.
“I was obviously full of pride but I told him that I may not be able to make it at such short notice as I hadn’t booked any time off.
“It was actually my family and co-workers who insisted I went. My colleagues were amazing, they took care of all my work that week because they said it was a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity I couldn’t miss’.”
He added: “When the list was announced and I saw which medal I was to receive I was incredibly humbled, shocked and surprised.
“I would have felt extremely privileged to receive any medal but this one has certainly acted as motivation for me to finish what I started in the country.”
Dr Moreea first began working in Mauritius six years ago after organising one-to-one training following a discussion with the country’s Prime Minister, who is also a former doctor at the Yorkshire Clinic.
His work across the five hospitals has helped improve the operating standards significantly whilst endoscopies can now be performed in units which previously didn’t even exist.
In one hospital, in the south of the country, Dr Moreea not only paid for an architect to design a room which could cater for endoscopy facilities but also paid for the equipment.
Running since 2012, and officially opened in 2013, it has so far performed more than 600 cases.
Yet, Dr Moreea insists that single achievements like this are not what he is most proud of.
“Unfortunately, with Mauritius being a small country and having a lot of private health care, people previously did not like to share their knowledge and talents with others,” he explained.
“If you said to me, ‘what am I most proud of, teaching people how to do endoscopy or changing the mind-set of the people’, I’d say I’m much more proud of the latter.
“Hospitals work best when people help each other and I like to believe that I have helped change the culture in Mauritius which will only benefit the next generation of doctors.
“At the end of the day, I do this because I enjoy it. I enjoy teaching, I enjoy seeing people making progress and I enjoy seeing the country making an effort to help its people.”