Kailash Chand

He was a giant

Doctors in Unite were shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden death of our wonderful comrade Dr Kailash Chand (1948-2021).

Kailash was a much loved, principled doctor, he tirelessly campaigned against inequality and was a passionate defender of the NHS. As one of our members so succinctly put it “he was a giant”. Our thoughts are with his family. We will miss him.

Please see here for a moving montage of video clips of Kailash, speaking passionately about his love of the NHS and the need for us all to fight for it.

Kailash was also interviewed in the recent film by David Olusoga – Our NHS: A Hidden History on BBC1. Link is here, Kailash appears at 39min in.

The BMJ has published this obituary about Kailash.

Born in India in 1948, Prof Kailash Chand came to Britain in 1978 and for 25 years he was a GP in Ashton-under-Lyne. He died of a cardiac arrest on 26th July 2021 at the age of 73.

Kailash was a good friend to many people. He cared for others and liked to help them. His advice was always wise and considered.

Kailash was committed to the National Health Service. He fought for it through medical politics and through party politics, gaining a powerful reputation for commitment, courage, and passion not only in Doctors in Unite but also in the BMA and the Labour Party. In the BMA he was awarded a Vice Presidentship to honour him for his service in a number of offices, including 4 years as Deputy Chair of BMA Council. In the Labour Party he was a friend of many leading politicians and deeply respected by them. He always took the opportunity to remind them of the need to prioritise a publicly-owned publicly-provided NHS. Jeremy Corbyn tweeted of his death “So sad at the death of Dr Kailash Chand a true socialist who always defended our NHS. In his memory stop privatization and create a National Care Service. RIP and thank you for a wonderful life of care.”

Kailash was also committed to opposition to racism. He was prominent amongst those fighting for fair treatment for overseas qualified doctors.

He believed in assisted dying and submitted motions on the subject to the BMA ARM on several occasions as part of an ongoing campaign for the BMA to change its stance of opposition.

He was an excellent and prolific writer and used the power of his pen to promote the case for socialism and anti-racism and to expose the damage being done to the NHS by commercialisation.

He was named on the list of the Health Service Journal’s top 50 healthcare pioneers from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. He was also included on a ‘power list’ put together by the GG2 Leadership Awards which celebrate high achievers from those communities. He was awarded an OBE in 2010 for his services to the NHS, and featured on the BBC documentary Our NHS: A Hidden History just a few weeks before his death describing to presenter David Olusoga how nurses, doctors and health workers from overseas transformed the NHS in spite of hostility and discrimination. Olusoga said it was an “honour” to meet him.

He was also influential in his local community and after retiring as a GP served as Chair of the local Primary Care Trust. Amongst his achievements was persuading Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, to establish a Race Equality Panel.

He was deeply affected by the death in November 2018 of his beloved wife, Anisha Malhotra, also a GP, who he had cared for over a number of years in her prolonged illness. He never really recovered from her death.

Their son, Aseem Malhotra, is a cardiologist. Their first son, Amit, who had Down’s Syndrome, died at the age of 13.

Steve Watkins