Dr Chand was one of the most influential British Asian doctors in the UK healthcare system, and his career has not been short of accolades.
The medic was the first Asian to be elected as deputy chair of the British Medical Association Council (BMA) representing 150,000 doctors in the UK; had received an OBE for his services to the NHS; was a senior fellow of the BMA; was named ‘GP of the Year’ by the Royal College of General Practitioners and had been regularly named as being among one of Britain’s top 50 most influential GPs in the annual ‘National Pulse Power List.’
Dr Chand was born in 1949, spending his childhood in Shimla, the capital of the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The eldest of five children, he was raised by his mother (a housekeeper) and his father (a worker for the Indian railways).
He came to the UK as a junior doctor in the late 1970s. Although he took great pride in working for the NHS and saw the positive impact of easy-access healthcare, he also faced discrimination and racism on frequent occasions.
In 2020, the battle for equality became even more significant in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic – and Chand was at the frontline. He was one of the first leaders in healthcare to highlight the disproportionate impact of coronavirus on ethnic minorities.
Studies showed some BAME health workers were finding it difficult to raise their concerns on the lack of PPE, in fear of a repercussions.
Chand, who was elected to the BMA board of directors, was extremely vocal on the issue, blaming structural racism on the impact. He appeared on several news programmes, including BBC Breakfast and Channel 4 News, to highlight the problem.
Along with several other health leaders, Chand urged government to investigate the disproportionate impact on BAME communities and the reasons behind it. Triggered by the calls to action, the government equalities office agreed to address Covid-19 health equalities in a quarterly report.
A regular contributor to the Eastern Eye, as his article on NHS featured in the publication last week. Most recently, he had been appointed honorary professor of health and well-being by Bolton University. He was also trustee of the homelessness charity Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity.