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COVID-19: tributes paid after death of two more nurses

Employers and loved ones praise dedication of Alice Kit Tak Ong and Rebecca Mack who have died after contracting COVID-19

 Alice Kit Tak Ong (left) and Rebecca Mack (right)

A nurse from Northumberland and a practice nurse from London are the latest nursing professionals to die after contracting COVID-19.

Rebecca Mack was formerly a nurse on the children's cancer unit at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, most recently working for NHS 111.

Speaking to Nursing Standard, her friend Sarah Bredin-Kemp said Ms Mack had been self-isolating at home when her symptoms worsened, and she died on 5 April.

An incredible nurse

Rebecca Mack (left) with her friend Sarah Bredin-Kemp
Rebecca Mack (left) with her friend
Sarah Bredin-Kemp

Ms Bredin-Kemp described her friend as an incredible nurse.

'It is really special and comforting that so many people are now coming forward to say Becca had looked after their son or daughter at the worst time of their life,’ she said.

'She would always make the kids laugh and organise special trips for them.'

Ms Bredin-Kemp added that Ms Mack's mother Marion Mack-Jouvenaz wanted to send a message of love to all the nurses who were doing their best at this time and to reiterate that people must stay home to protect the NHS.

Ms Mack-Jouvenaz has now set up a fundraising page for the children’s cancer unit, where her daughter used to work.

She wrote: ‘Her death has devastated us but we want to make something positive out of this, because that is what Rebecca would have wanted.’

'My mother came from Hong Kong to work for the NHS – the best in the world'

The second nurse, practice nurse Alice Kit Tak Ong, was 70-years-old and worked for practices in the Barnet area. She worked in the NHS for 44 years. Ms Ong died on 7 April.

Her daughter Melissa Ong said her mother had loved the NHS and called on people to value it as she had done.

‘My mother came here from Hong Kong to work for the NHS because she believed it was the best in the world,’ she said.

‘You see people clapping on the streets, but it shouldn't take something like this to bring the nation together to be thankful.

‘We should value healthcare workers in good times and bad times.’

Legacy of inspiring many junior colleagues

A spokesperson for North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group paid tribute to the incredible difference Ms Ong had made to patients and colleagues.

‘She had a passion for nursing and this came across in her interactions with patients, as well as her colleagues,’ they said.

‘She was much loved by her team and leaves an important legacy, having inspired many junior nursing colleagues who have benefitted from her vast knowledge, experience and passion for nursing.’

The deaths of Ms Mack and Ms Ong make for a total of five nurses and three healthcare assistants who have died after contracting COVID-19 in recent weeks.

View our COVID-19 resource centre

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