A 54-year-old midwife has become the latest member of NHS staff to die after testing positive for coronavirus.
Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Essex, confirmed that Lynsay Coventry, a long-serving member of its maternity team, had died at Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust on Thursday (April 2).
She is the latest NHS staff member to die during the coronavirus outbreak and the first serving NHS midwife in England whose death has been publicly confirmed.
Her death came as Health Secretary Matt Hancock pleaded with members of the public to follow social distancing rules.
Lance McCarthy, chief executive of the Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust (PAHT), said the 54-year-old could be remembered for her “professionalism and commitment to the women she supported”.
He said: “Lynsay has been a midwife at PAHT for 10 years and her loss will be felt by the maternity team and colleagues from across the organisation.
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“Lynsay had tested positive for Covid-19 and died on Thursday (April 2). She followed national guidance and self-isolated at home when she developed symptoms, and was not at work in the time before her death.
“Our thoughts are with Lynsay’s family and friends at this sad time.”
In a statement, Ms Coventry’s family said they were heartbroken at her loss.
“We each know how much she loved and cherished us. Her love for us all was unfailing and her strength in the way she cared and supported us will fill our memories.
“What we also know is how proud she was to be an NHS midwife. Lynsay followed her dream and trained as a midwife later in life. It was a role she committed herself to and saw the midwifery team at the Princess Alexandra Hospital as her other family. She was a very well-respected midwife who supported many hundreds of women as they welcomed their babies into the world.”
Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, chief midwifery officer for England, said she was “deeply moved and saddened” by the news.
She said: “Lynsay was clearly a highly-regarded midwife whose dedication to women, babies and their families will be remembered and cherished by her own family and her colleagues – my deepest thoughts are with them, her children, grandchildren, parents and siblings.
“The outpouring of support for NHS staff as we respond to this outbreak has been extraordinary, but the best way for people to do their bit for midwives, nurses, doctors and other NHS staff is to help protect us by following the Government’s advice to stay at home and save lives.”