A COUNTY health boss has paid an emotional tribute to a "much-loved" nurse who died while self isolating last week.

Matthew Hopkins, chief executive of the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, paid tribute to Julie Omar, who died at home on April 10.

In a video message to staff, Mr Hopkins said: "I wanted to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your continuing and great efforts which will ensure we can meet the growing number of sick patients in our hospitals with Covid-19, particularly on this sad day when I had to share the news of the sudden death of one of our own, a much loved member of our nursing team, Julie Omar.

"Julie was a dedicated and highly experienced trauma and orthopaedics nurse and because she worked in both Redditch and Worcester, I always enjoyed chatting to her while on-site and I know she will be sadly missed.

"I also know this news will have a profound effect on many of you, not least because it brings the tragic consequences of this outbreak closer to home than it already was."

Mr Hopkins added: "We have been asked by her family not to share any more details at this stage and we will of course respect those wishes."

52 year-old Mrs Omar had been working as a sister on Ward 14 at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, and had also worked at Worcestershire Royal Hospital in the past.

She had been self isolating with coronavirus symptoms when she died last week.

The Hospitals Trust also said books of remembrance would be available at both hospitals where Mrs Omar, who leaves behind a husband and daughter, worked.

Mr Hopkins used his video message to reassure staff, adding: "I know from my regular video calls with some of you over the past week there remains a high level of concern for your own personal safety and this is completely understandable in the circumstances.

"Please rest assured the senior leadership and I are doing everything we practically can to make sure you have the right protective equipment in the right levels across the hospitals."