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Highlands Ebola hero doctor returns to work

Dr Chris Mair in Sierra Leone
Dr Chris Mair in Sierra Leone

The hero doctor who has vowed to go back to Africa to continue the battle against the deadly Ebola outbreak returned to treating his own patients in the Highlands today.

Dr Chris Mair, who runs a Sutherland GP practice with his wife Janet, undertook a self-imposed 21-day break from work after returning from Sierra Leone.

Soon after his return to the UK, he said he had taken this precaution to put his patients at Creich Surgery in Bonar Bridge “at their ease”.

The 61-year-old father-of-three said the plight of colleague Pauline Cafferkey, who contracted the killer virus while working with him in Sierra Leone, had not put him off returning to Africa.

Dr Mair, who shared a flight home with the Scots nurse, said he was “very sad” when he heard she was critically ill.

But he added that her illness had made him “more determined” to return to West Africa.

And he urged more health workers to volunteer for the vital work in Sierra Leone.

Dr Mair said: “The situation there is grim and I am saddened that more people have not volunteered.

“I’m absolutely certain that I’ll go back this year.”

The GP said he checked his family and the other GP in the practice, Sheila Carbarns, were happy with him going before he spent five weeks working in the Ebola treatment centre in Kerry Town, near the Sierra Leone capital Freetown.

And he claims to have received a lot of support from local people both before and after the trip.

Dr Mair said: “I have encountered nothing but positive feedback since I came home.

“Everyone in the local community has been extremely welcoming.”

A health board spokesman today said: “Dr Mair has returned to work and it is very much business as usual for both him and his patients.”

And the GP has said they want to appoint another GP for the practice before he volunteers for another trip to Sierra Leone.

Meanwhile, the GP is trying to work out the best way to start an initiative to fund medical training in the West African country.

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