The current holder of the Miss England title has set aside her crown so she can return to her job as a doctor during the coronavirus crisis.
Bhasha Mukherjee returned to the UK from charity work in India to rejoin her colleagues at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, Lincolnshire.
Ms Mukherjee said that while the work she was doing in India was important, she felt her time and skills would be of greater use to the NHS during the coronavirus epidemic.
“I felt that my services, given the training that I’ve had – I’m a trained doctor – my services would be much more useful in a hospital,” she said.
“I’m not belittling the work, the charity work that I was doing, but in a way, you know, this is what I’ve been trained to do, so I wanted to come back and do that.
“Initially when we were doing all this good work and the happy smiles – we went to so many homes for orphanages and little girls who’d been abandoned and things like that… but towards the end of the trip… I did not feel like wearing my crown. I did not feel like attending the events.”
Now in isolation in Derby, Ms Mukherjee said she was waiting to hear when she can get up-to-date training, so she can help fellow medical professionals during the pandemic.
“The ward that I work in is the respiratory ward, but from what I’m hearing from my colleagues, the doctors are being sort of filtered and sent wherever they’re needed,” she said.
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“COVID patients are a problem – of course they are – and that’s mainly at ICU and A&E and of course the respiratory ward, but we can’t forget all the other patients in the other parts of the hospital and a hospital needs to function.
“At the moment, because of COVID, there’s an additional pressure where most doctors, nurses and resources are prioritised to them. But we also need to have the other patients looked after. That’s why the NHS is being so stretched at the moment.”
Ms Mukherjee has also started a petition to ask that NHS workers can pay reduced rent for accommodation during the crisis.
Some medics are having to rent places because they need to isolate from their families and neighbours.