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Father of GP co-operatives dies from COVID-19 aged 82

By 08/12/2020No Comments

Dr Korlipara passed away at his home last Thursday after suffering a cardiac arrest linked to COVID-19, according to the Bolton News.

He was an active part of the general practice community in Lancashire for over 40 years, and continued to work in cardiology.

Tributes have flooded in from the medical community, with former colleagues passing on their condolences to his family and friends. Dr Chandra Kanneganti, chair of the British International Doctors Association called his passing ‘a huge loss to the medical community’.

GP co-operatives

Dr Korlipara was perhaps best known for establishing the UK’s first non-profit GP co-operative in Lancashire with Bolton District Medical Services in the late 1970s. His work in this area led to over 300 GP co-operatives being set up across the country.

He served as the National Association of GP Co-operatives (NAGPC) chair and was the longest-serving elected member of the GMC – holding a post with the regulator for 24 years.

In 2018 he was awarded a commendation by the RCGP in an exhibition celebrating doctors from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka who helped shape the modern NHS.

The Bolton GP also helped to open the area’s first purpose-built medical centre, Pike View Medical Centre, and was one of the founding members of the Overseas Doctors Association, known today as BIDA.

Generous person

Dr Korlipara’s daughter Veni told the Bolton News: ‘My father was such an active member of the community and the medical profession. He was such a kind and generous person and we have had so many calls and messages from people around the world telling us what he did for them.

‘Many told us how much he helped them in their times of need in so many different ways. He was a very special person who gave a lot. One man told us that he helped him through his darkest times after his son committed suicide. Others said he got them into professions or lent them money. He was a very special person who gave a lot – he used to say that there was no point living unless you gave.’

Dr Korlipara studied medicine in Mangalore before moving to England in 1965, working as senior house officer at Manor Park Hospital, Bristol. He worked in Huddersfield and Nottinghamshire, before being appointed registrar in general medicine at Bolton General Hospital in 1969.

In 1973 he switched to general practice in Horwich, Bolton, where he worked his way up to become a partner, but kept his interest in cardiology by working as an associate specialist at Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester.

‘Committed doctor’

Dr Kanneganti said Dr Korlipara’s passing was ‘a huge loss to the medical community’. He said: ‘Whether he belonged to an organisation or not, he always worked hard supporting the cause of overseas qualified doctors.

‘He was a very sought after speaker, he could speak easy for an hour without any notes – and he was well-liked by everybody, not just with overseas doctors. He was a committed doctor.’

Dr Korlipara is the twelfth GP from a black, asian and minority ethnic community to die from COVID-19. BIDA and the RCGP have recently asked the government to clarify the omission of BAME communities from the COVID vaccine priority list.

A tribute to the GPs who have died from COVID-19 can be found here.

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