Coronavirus: Tributes to Khulisani Nkala whose smile 'lit up room'

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Khulisani NkalaImage source, Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Image caption,
Khulisani Nkala worked for the Leeds and York NHS Partnership Foundation Trust and died on 17 April

A mental health nurse described by colleagues as someone who "always put the patient first" and had a smile that "lit up" a room, has died of Covid-19.

Khulisani Nkala, 46, worked for the Leeds and York NHS Partnership Foundation Trust and died on 17 April.

The trust provides mental health and learning disability services in Leeds and specialist services across Yorkshire.

Mr Nkala is the first staff member at the trust to die from the virus.

The trust's chief executive, Dr Sara Munro, said she also hoped he would be the last staff member the trust would lose to the disease.

"Khuli [as he was known] was a well-respected and selfless professional nurse, who always put the patient first, and will be greatly missed by his colleagues," Dr Munro said.

She said Mr Nkala's family had asked for privacy and added: "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time."

Nr Nkala had joined the trust as a staff nurse in 2015, becoming a charge nurse in 2016. He had previously worked at Stockton Hall Medium Secure Care Hospital, near York.

He was also an active member of the trust's Workforce Race Equality Network and its chair, Wendy Tangen, said he would be "missed dearly".

"Khuli was a man of integrity, honour, wit and a smile that lit up any dull room.

"He believed in fairness and I often had conversations with him on improving the care we offered to our service users and supporting the progression of our Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff members.

"His ability to develop sound relationships and put people at ease was astounding, nothing appeared to faze him, and his presence gave calmness and confidence in difficult situations."

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