A British Asian doctor has been photographed by Ian Rankin to celebrate the NHS’s 72nd anniversary. 

Dr Farzana Hussain is one of twelve NHS staff to have been photographed and whose job has been critical during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Taking the portraits from a safe distance and behind a plastic sheet, Rankin photographed the subjects without their PPE to reveal the people behind the mask. 

He said: “As the coronavirus pandemic began to unfold, I was moved by the incredible efforts of people across the NHS and I wanted to document who they are and their role in fighting this disease.”

Dr Hussain is a GP at Project Surgery, Newham and has responded to the coronavirus outbreak by setting up initiatives such as online appointments and drive-through immunisation clinics. 

She said: “It’s wonderful to be part of this campaign and to be photographed by Rankin. It’s difficult to put into words how privileged I feel to be able to go to work everyday and make a difference to people’s lives.”



Commenting on her motivation, Dr Hussain said she grew up around medicine and recalled accompanying her father, an anaesthetist at hospital and going around each of the wards. 

“This motivated me not only to study medicine but to really remember the patients’ jour¬ney,” she said.

Then while she was in her first year of studies at the University of Wales College of Medicine, her mother took ill and was in hospital with end stage heart failure so she travelled 250 miles from Cardiff to visit her. 

“She looked really ill. I wasn’t sure whether I should leave her and travel back to medical school or stay. She said, ‘you must go back, I want you to be a doctor and help people. I will be okay.’ She died five days later.”

Commenting on the role of Asians in the NHS, Dr Hussain said that it “really benefits from migrants.”

“My father came to work in the NHS back in 1970 from East Pakistan. He came to the UK on a scholarship to do some post-graduate study as an anaesthetist.

“However the war broke out the year after so he lost his scholarship and was left caring for a wife and a one-year-old son so he stayed here and served the NHS as an anaesthetist for many, many years.” 

Dr Hussain continues to be inspired by her parents and said: “When I look after my pa¬tients, I remember that they are someone’s family.”

She was also named GP of the year in 2019 for all of her efforts. 



NHS CEO, Sir Simon Stevens said: “On July 5th we also want to say thank you to those from all walks of life who have played their part in helping the NHS and our communities deal with this unprecedented health emergency.”

The collection of photographs will be showcased across the country at bus stops, roadside billboards and other public areas including Piccadilly Lights in central London throughout the week of the anniversary. 

All portraits are being donated by Rankin to the NHS and advertising space to display the portraits has also been donated free of charge.