Homerton doctor was first on the scene at the Westminster attack despite being off duty


Updated Thursday 23 March

An off-duty doctor from Homerton University Hospital was one of the first on the scene at the Westminster terrorist attack.

Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya was the first doctor on the scene after the terrorist attack at Westminster yesterday.

The junior doctor had been attending an interview nearby.

He told Buzzfeed: “I heard the screaming so ran to help and the police ran me in.” 

Dr Wijesuriya said emergency services and police were “incredible as we tried to save both the officer and the assailant,“ adding: “We spent some time trying to resuscitate them both.”

The junior doctor treated two people, one of whom had been stabbed and another who had been shot, according to Buzzfeed. He said he believed one of them was the attacker.

A BMA spokeswoman told the Hackney Post that after going to the scene, Dr Wijesuriya went on to help at a hospital and stayed until late last night.

Dr Wijesuriya is chair of the British Medical Association’s Junior Doctors Committee.

Dr Will Sapwell, who is one of Dr Wikesuriya’s deputies on the Junior Doctors Committee, told Hackney Post: “Jeeves is a ‘help others now, think about myself later’ kind of person. While I’m very proud of him, I can’t say I’m very surprised.”

Mark Purcell, spokesman for Homerton University Hospital, said: “We warmly commend the actions of Dr Wijesuriya. He showed quick thinking and initiative in very difficult circumstances and brought his training and skills into play where most needed.”

Four people died and at least 40 others were injured as a result of the attack. At the time of writing, seven are in a critical condition. A man drove a car into people on Westminster Bridge and then stabbed a police officer outside the House of Commons, before being shot by armed police.

Hackney MPs Diane Abbott and Meg Hillier were locked in Parliament after the attack.

Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, told Hackney Post: “I was voting at the time of the incident, which all occurred as I was about to start a committee hearing. Parliament locked down very quickly.

“My staff were moved from their office by armed police who cleared the buildings but are all also safe.

“My thoughts are with the dead police officer’s family. It’s just so awful. It’s all very shocking and [the attack being] within a year of Jo [Cox]’s murder is a horrible reminder.”

Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, last night described on BBC2’s Newsnight how she was locked in the chamber for five hours.

She said: “It was frightening, but MPs stayed calm”. She added: “people were very moved” by the deaths.

On the subject of the security of Parliament, Abbott said it was “very hard to make it completely secure unless you in effect cut it off from the public”.

The MP said: “I think it’s very important to have a balance between keeping people safe – and remember two thousand people work on the parliamentary estate – but keeping parliament open and accessible to the public.

“Security in parliament is higher than I’ve ever known it, and I would hate to have a parliament which was somehow cut off from the public.”

Abbott said she was confident that MPs in the chamber had been “getting information as soon as it could be verified.”

Abbott was also asked about how to tackle terrorism. The Shadow Home Secretary said: “I don’t think the Prevent scheme has been effective.” Prevent is the government’s anti-extremism scheme.

The MP added: “demonising communities will not make us safer.”

The Prime Minister revealed this morning that the attacker was British-born and known to security services, but had not been “part of the current intelligence picture”.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “My message to those who want to harm us and destroy our way of life is you won’t succeed; you won’t divide us; we won’t be cowed by terrorists.”

PC Keith Palmer, 48, of the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Service, was killed outside the House of Commons. James Cleverly MP paid tribute in the House of Commons today to a “strong, professional public servant”.

Ashya Frade, 43, a Spanish teacher at DLD College, was killed after being hit on Westminster Bridge. Police said a man in his mid-50s also died.

The Islamic State terror group has claimed through its news agency that the attacker was a “soldier of the Islamic State”.

Theresa May told MPs that those injured in the attack included 12 Britons, three French children, two Romanians, four South Koreans, two Greeks, and one victim each from Germany, Poland, the Irish Republic, China, Italy and the US.