‘Covid Queen’ doctor who led the fight against coronavirus in Sheffield dies, aged 40
Sheffield is mourning the loss of an inspirational doctor dubbed the ‘Covid Queen’ for the way she helped lead the city’s response to coronavirus.
Dr Kirsty Gillgrass died suddenly on November 16, aged 40, leaving behind her husband Jon and two sons, aged nine and 13.
She was an ‘immensely popular’ GP at Crystal Peaks Medical Centre, where she had been a partner since 2013 and was known for ‘going the extra mile’ for patients.
Kirsty was last year appointed as clinical director for elective care and cancer at Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, and when the Covid pandemic began she became the group’s Covid clinical lead.
She was at the forefront of planning and leading the response to the virus across the city, with her drive and commitment to ensuring that this was done to the absolute highest standard earning her the ‘Covid Queen’ nickname.
Her colleagues described her as a ‘formidable talent in medicine’, who was ‘intelligent, passionate, caring and, most importantly of all, committed to ensuring that her patients always received the very best care’.
She was passionate about developing the next generation of GPs, becoming an academic teaching fellow at the University of Sheffield in 2012 and a GP trainer in 2016. In both her teaching roles, she helped educate and mentor her students, with many current GPs having been taught and supported by her.
In 2014, Kirsty joined the Sheffield Women in Medicine (SWiM) Committee, and over the next six years she would be instrumental in developing a charter for gender equality and continually supported and mentored women in a variety of medical roles.
At the time of her death, she was studying for an executive masters in medical leadership at CASS Business School, which has unanimously decided to posthumously award Kirsty a distinction in her MSc.
Dr Zak McMurray, medical director at NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It has been a great privilege to work with Kirsty at the CCG for the last few years. She was passionate about General Practice and putting our patients at the heart of the care we deliver.
"Her contribution during the Covid pandemic was enormous. Kirsty will be hugely missed as both a colleague and friend. All of our thoughts are with Jon and Kirsty's family at such a difficult time.”
Outside of work, Kirsty was incredibly proud of her sons and of the young men they are becoming. She was passionate about giving them every opportunity in life and was often
found cheering them on as they played rugby or cricket, either for their school, Sheffield RUFC or Sheffield Collegiate Cricket Club.
Friends told how her enthusiasm was infectious, albeit often greater than her knowledge of the rules.
Her husband Jon said: “Kirsty will be deeply missed by her family and friends. She was a doting and loving mum to her two boys and always wanted the very best for them.
"She always brought a splash of colour, usually pink(!), a warm smile and nothing was too much trouble for her. She has left a massive hole in our lives and will always be remembered.”
Kirsty, who lived in Millhouses, loved musical theatre and was part of Chapeltown Amateur Operatic Society. She also enjoyed the outdoors and could be often found walking the family dog in Ecclesall Wood and the Limb Valley.
Last year she completed both the Great North Run and Manchester Half Marathon, raising money for The Alzheimer’s Society.
Lorna Branton, a close friend, said: “Kirsty’s life was marked by care and service. She devoted her life to helping others and was a committed friend to many and a key part of her local community.
"Kirsty was always on the go and had a diary that defied the laws of space and time. However, she always made time for those that needed her. She was a rare gem and will be missed and mourned by many.”
Kirsty’s funeral will be held this Wednesday, December 9. In lieu of flowers, her husband Jon has asked that anybody who would like to remember her make a donation to Doctor’s
Support Network, which provides essential mental health support to doctors and is especially important during these difficult times.
Donations can be made at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SomeoneSpecial/KirstyGillgrass.