'Kind and beautiful soul' - tributes paid to caring Ipswich doctor
- Credit: Submitted by family
Heartfelt tributes have been paid to an Ipswich GP known for his gentle character and "infectious smile", who has died in hospital aged 77.
Moving to Ipswich from London in 1975, India-born doctor Ishwar Lal Bhatia became a household name for many thanks to his dedication to helping others, spending his working life in different positions across the local NHS.
Starting as an orthopaedic surgeon at Anglesea Road Hospital and Ipswich Hospital, Dr Bhatia specialised as a general practitioner in 1982 and later became partner of the Landseer Road Practice, before teaming up with Dr Jeph Vite to establish the Ravenswood Surgery.
Educated at St John's College and SN Medical College in Agra, India, Dr Bhatia officially retired in 2008 but remained a locum GP and appraiser, mentoring other doctors for many years while living in Rushmere St Andrew.
A lover of technology and always looking out for the next big gadget, Dr Bhatia would regularly be stopped in the street by his former patients who wanted to say hello.
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He died at Ipswich Hospital on February 4, where he was being treated for pancreatitis. He had also contracted Covid-19.
A much-loved husband to Usha, father to Yogita, Mohit and Anika, and grandfather to Iyla, Louie and Josh, Dr Bhatia's daughter Anika Birchall said he was "adored" by both his colleagues and the community he loved to serve.
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In a tribute, Dr Bhatia's children said: "He will be fondly remembered by all his friends, family and patients for his kindness, gentleness, care and not least for his infectious smile.
"He was an amazing, popular man with the biggest heart and will be sorely missed.
"His legacy remains in the form of all the people he has cared for and the lives he has saved, the doctors he has trained and mentored, who are caring for people now and the inspiration he has given his family to work hard and be humble."
Dr Bhatia's former colleagues have also paid tribute to the beloved practitioner – who also cared for players of Ipswich Town Football Club.
Dr Jeph Vite, who worked with him at Ravenswood Surgery, said his smile will never be forgotten.
Dr Vite said: "Dr Bhatia was genuinely kind, hospitable and pleasant to me. He taught me and my colleagues how to give holistic care to patients.
"He was loved by all. His ever present smile and warmth will never be forgotten and his smile lingers on."
Another former colleague, Dr Robert Mindham, said he was a "kind and beautiful soul".
Dr Mindham added: "It was truly a pleasure knowing Ishwar and he will be dearly missed."