Clacton GP Dr Karamat Ullah Mirza, 84, who had worked in general practice for more than four decades and remained an active member of the GP workforce, is understood to have died on 10 May after contracting coronavirus.
Colleagues paid tribute to the 'respected and much-loved' doctor, who had been a GP since 1974 and a senior partner since the mid-1980s. Dr Mirza is the oldest of the nine UK GPs who have lost their lives in the pandemic to date.
The long-serving GP, a partner at the Old Road Surgery in Clacton, also worked as a clinical assistant in anaesthesia in Colchester General Hospital for 20 years and as a clinical assistant in obstetrics in Clacton Hospital for 20 years, and had a special interest in opthalmology.
Dr Ed Garratt, chief executive of the NHS Ipswich & East Suffolk, NHS West Suffolk and NHS North East Essex CCGs and executive lead for the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System, said: 'We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Dr Mirza, a respected and much-loved GP who had served the patients in his local community for more than four decades.
'Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and practice colleagues, and all our efforts will be focused on supporting them at this difficult time.
'A small number of people who had contact with Dr Mirza are self-isolating at home as appropriate. The Old Road Surgery in Clacton and its branch practice in St Osyth will be closed until Wednesday of this week at the earliest. Both have undergone deep cleansing as a precaution.
'NHS 111 will take over triaging of all telephone calls to the practice until it is able to reopen. Alternative arrangements are in place for any patients who need to have face-to-face appointments.'
All nine GPs who have died during the coronavirus pandemic were male, and Dr Mirza is the eighth from a black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) background to pass away.
He is also the fourth Essex GP to have lost his life to the virus, following the deaths of Dr Kamlesh Masson, Dr Habib Zaidi and Dr Fayez Ayache. Bury GP Dr Saad Al-Dubbaisi, Dorset GP Dr Craig Wakeham and London GPs Dr Yusuf Ismail Patel, Dr Syed Zishan Haider and Dr Krishan Arora have also died. See the GPonline tribute page for more details.
The government is carrying out a review to investigate the disproportionate impact of coronavirus on BAME NHS staff. Research published last week suggested that people from BAME groups face a two to three times increased risk of death from coronavirus.
GP practices have been advised to carry out risk assessments on all BAME members of their healthcare team during the pandemic - and the BMA has warned that older BAME healthcare staff should not work in high-risk roles.