British Sikh Medical Pioneer Knighted by King Charles in New Year’s Honours List

by Antariksh Singh

In a stellar recognition of a lifetime dedicated to healthcare, Dr. Amritpal Singh Hungin, a distinguished British Sikh senior medical professional, has been knighted by King Charles III in the 2024 New Year Honours list. Dr. Hungin, affectionately known as Professor Pali Hungin, boasts over three decades of invaluable general practice (GP) experience, and his Knighthood for services to medicine is a testament to his unwavering commitment to the well-being of communities.

Emeritus Professor of General Practice at Newcastle University, Professor Hungin has left an indelible mark on the medical landscape, having served as the founding Dean of Medicine at Durham University and as the former president of the British Medical Association (BMA). The Knighthood is a recognition not only of his personal achievements but also of the broader contributions of Indian-origin healthcare professionals, philanthropists, and community activists who have dedicated themselves to selfless service.

The New Year Honours list celebrates the exceptional achievements of individuals across the country, with nearly 30 Indian-origin honorees recognized for their outstanding contributions to society. The diverse group includes Baldev Parkash Bhardwaj, acknowledged for services to the community in Oldbury, West Midlands; Dr. Dipankar Datta, Chair of the South Asia Voluntary Enterprise, honored for services to charity; and Munir Patel, CEO of XRAIL Group, recognized for services to rail exports.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak commended the honorees, stating, “The New Year’s Honours List recognizes the exceptional achievements of people across the country and those who have shown the highest commitment to selflessness and compassion. To all honorees, you are the pride of this country and an inspiration to us all.”

The list includes British Indian Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBEs), such as Dr. Shriti Pattani, President of the Society of Occupational Medicine, acknowledged for services to occupational health, and Vinaichandra Guduguntla Venkatesham, CEO of Arsenal Football Club, honored for services to sport.

More than 1,200 recipients have been awarded this year, with Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBEs) conferred upon a cross-section of individuals, including Dr. Sanjay Bhandari, Chair of anti-racism charity Kick It Out, and Jayshree Rajkotia, Trustee and Vice Chair of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, UK, for services to Indian culture.

Indian-origin recipients of MBEs span various fields, from business to healthcare. Notable figures include Dr. Manav Bhavsar, recognized for services to healthcare, particularly during Covid-19, and Dr. Gian Parkash Gopal, honored for services to the Hindu community and multi-faith cohesion in Oxfordshire.

In addition to MBEs, Indian-origin Medallists of the Order of the British Empire (BEMs) have been honored for their contributions to medical education and charity. Chandra Shekhar Biyani received recognition for services to medical education, while Harbaksh Singh Grewal was acknowledged for services to charity.

As the curtain falls on 2023, the New Year Honours list shines a spotlight on the exceptional dedication of individuals like Dr. Amritpal Singh Hungin and his fellow honorees, reminding us of the selfless commitment and compassion that make a lasting impact on society.

Antariksh Singh

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