London (CNN)A man who worked for the UK's National Health Service (NHS) for 20 years was "neglected" after he contracted Covid-19 and died, alleges his daughter Tamira Harvey.
Although Thomas Harvey never got a test for Covid-19 before he died, an NHS Trust confirmed to CNN that he had picked up the virus. According to his daughter, the 57-year-old health care assistant was let down by both the hospital where he helped care for recovering stroke patients, and by emergency responders.
Tamira alleges that London's Goodmayes Hospital failed to provide necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) to her father. And just a few days before Harvey's death, emergency services "refused" to come to take him to hospital, Tamira says, despite family concerns that he wasn't "breathing properly."
The NHS trust responsible for the hospital where Thomas worked told CNN on Wednesday that there were no symptomatic patients when Thomas Harvey went off work sick, and that it has been following national PPE guidance. CNN reached out to NHS England, which leads the public health service in England and oversees emergency services, via phone and email and has yet to receive a response.
The London Ambulance Service (LAS) did not respond directly to Tamira's claims that they "refused" to take Thomas Harvey to the hospital. They did however, confirm that they were "seeing unprecedented demand" for both their 999 and 111 services at this time, with more than 8,000 calls coming into their 999 control rooms each day. Additionally, when they were called on the day of Harvey's death, medics arrived in "six minutes," the LAS said.
But Tamira remains adamant that the blame for her father's death should ultimately lie in the hands of the UK government.
She believes that Harvey picked up the virus at work due to a lack of PPE. Before he died, he told Tamira that the protective equipment supplied wasn't substantial. "He told me on the ward they only had flimsy aprons and gloves," she said. She says she is now concerned for the welfare of other medical professionals and patients at the Hospital.
The novel coronavirus pandemic is now hitting the UK hard, with more than 34,000 recorded cases and the country's death toll rising to more than 2,900, according to Johns Hopkins University figures.
The UK government is also under growing pressure after it admitted on Wednesday that fewer than 3,000 frontline health care workers, out of around 500,000, had been tested. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the government planned to "massively" increase testing to try and solve the "coronavirus puzzle" on Wednesday night.
'He always wanted to put others before himself'
When Harvey collapsed in the bathroom at this home in Hackney, London on March 29, family members had to use an ax to break down the door to reach him. Police and paramedics soon arrived to assist but the 57-year-old went into cardiac arrest and died in his living room.
Tamira described the whole experience as "devastating" but she does not fault the effort of the police and the paramedics in their attempts to save her father's life on March 29. She is, however, critical of the fact that he wasn't tested for the virus, and angry that more was not done to prevent his death.
"I think he was neglected from the start. It's just a tragedy... It's a mixture of emotions. Loads of questions of why and how this happened. The fact he wasn't tested, none of us were tested. My mother is overwhelmed as they have been together for so long and she has lost her best friend," she told CNN.