KGH doctor: 'How we remembered Covid victims as PM joined wine and cheese event'

His tweet showing two contrasting pictures has gone viral

By Sam Wildman
Monday, 20th December 2021, 2:50 pm
The KGH staff minute's silence. Credit: Dr Ajay Verma
The KGH staff minute's silence. Credit: Dr Ajay Verma

A doctor at KGH has gone viral after a tweet showing staff remembering Covid-19 victims on the same day a wine and cheese event was held at 10 Downing Street.

Dr Ajay Verma published a picture of KGH workers holding a minute's silence on May 15, 2020, as they remembered those who had died with the virus.

The picture published by Dr Verma - a consultant gastroenterologist and physician - was posted next to an image published by the Guardian showing Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a garden event on the same day with almost 20 people in an alleged breach of his own restrictions.

Dr Verma's tweet, which has had more than 4,000 retweets and 13,000 likes on Twitter, said: "On Friday 15th May 2020 at 1pm we held a minute’s silence on our ward (and throughout our hospital) in memory of those who died from Covid.

"Little did we know that the PM & friends were enjoying a garden party that same afternoon."

On May 15 last year, when the nation was in its first Covid lockdown, NHS England confirmed 186 deaths of people who had died in hospitals having tested positive for the virus. Four of those were patients at Kettering General Hospital.

The picture of Mr Johnson with wife Carrie and several staff, with wine and a cheeseboard, was given to the Guardian after No 10 denied there had been a social event.

It shows 19 people in different groups on the Downing Street lawn and terrace with limited social distancing.

At the time only two people could meet outdoors and with a social distance of at least 2m. No 10 guidance said in-person work meetings should only take place if it was "absolutely necessary".

No 10 insisted a work meeting was taking place. MP Dominic Raab told the BBC that it wasn't a social occasion and it was staff having a drink after meetings.

On the day of the wine and cheese event Matt Hancock, health secretary at the time, gave a 5pm press conference urging people to make sure they stuck to the rules as the UK enjoyed glorious May weekend weather.

The picture was published after a series of accusations that staff at Downing Street broke the Government's rules with Christmas parties, with Mr Johnson alleged to have given a speech at a leaving do and taken part in a Zoom quiz.

A video was also leaked to ITV showing aides laughing about a 'Christmas party with wine and cheese'.