Dominic Cummings outside his north London home

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Dominic Cummings drove 260 miles to County Durham with his wife and child during the lockdown

A doctor who quit in protest at Dominic Cummings’ controversial trip to Durham said all royalties from a book he wrote about his Covid-19 experiences will go to charity to support NHS workers.

In May it emerged Mr Cummings had driven more than 250 miles from London – despite government lockdown rules.

Dr Dominic Pimenta handed in his notice after threatening to quit if the prime minister’s adviser did not resign.

Mr Cummings said he travelled in “extenuating circumstances”.

Despite pressure from the public and political opponents, Mr Cummings refused to either apologise or stand down from his position.

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Dr Dominic Pimenta

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Dr Dominic Pimenta said royalties from his book Duty of Care will go to a charity to support NHS workers

Dr Pimenta qualified as a doctor in 2012 and held a role in cardiology across hospitals in London for four years.

The 33-year-old described a “tsunami of patients” and watching hospital wards be converted into extra intensive care units to make room for the sick.

He spoke about “frustration and anxiety” coming from multiple hospital WhatsApp groups from across London.

After witnessing the suffering, death and recoveries of many patients, Dr Pimenta felt compelled to write a book about his experiences battling coronavirus from the frontline.

He said he and his colleagues heard about Northwick Park Hospital being declared a black alert early in the pandemic, and they then found “patients kept coming to us and we quadrupled capacity”. Plans were then made to expand capacity further, which Dr Pimenta said was “amazing to see”.

“It was a very crazy time, the hospital seemed to take on different times and space with new rooms, doors and protocols,” he said.

“Time would stretch, they would go fast but it seemed to last years.”

‘Quite outrageous’

After details of his trip to the North East emerged, Mr Cummings said his wife had some coronavirus symptoms before they made the journey in late March to be near family in County Durham, after which he said he developed symptoms himself.

The government guidance at the time was that if someone was suspected of having coronavirus “all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days”.

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Media captionDominic Cummings’ full statement on lockdown row

“I was in the third day of quite a hard set of intensive care unit shifts,” Dr Pimenta said when he recalled first hearing about Mr Cummings’ journey.

“We had lost a couple of patients that weekend and a number had got better.

“The first time I wasn’t that perturbed, then it emerged there were multiple trips and that was quite outrageous, it was breaching lockdown when symptomatic and my initial reaction was outrage.

“Considering the protocols, dozens of extra shifts being worked across the health service, this huge amounts of human effort and the colleagues we have lost – I just felt that it was unacceptable and insulting at the time.”

Dr Pimenta tweeted that he was going to resign and admitted that “it went a lot bigger” than he initially expected.

But, he said, ultimately he felt he had to stick by his word.

“I wanted to see the reaction from the Cabinet,” he said. “For them to treat a public health crisis rather than a PR crisis.

“We got to the point of fairytales about eye tests and Michael Gove laughing about it with Nick Ferrari and I just felt it was truly unacceptable and intolerable.”

Dr Pimenta will receive a writer’s fee for his book, Duty of Care, but he said every penny of the sales royalties would be donated to the charity Heroes – which acts as a support network for the welfare and wellbeing of NHS workers.

More than £1m has been raised since the outbreak, which has been used to fund reusable personal protective equipment (PPE) and act as a support grant fund for childcare.

Having left his cardiology role, Dr Pimenta said he planned to carry on doing charity work for Heroes and take a break.

But he also said he still had fears of a second wave of coronavirus.

“We need to learn lessons now,” he said.

“The main thing from my mind is the element of transparency, there is still not much education about what the virus is and how it spreads and that underlines the miscommunication.

“I hope we try to react to things much quicker and if there is a need for lockdown nationally we take the action at the time.”

Downing Street has declined to comment.

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