Seventh GP dies from COVID-19 as BAME toll mounts

An Essex GP described as a 'true gentleman' has become the seventh confirmed to have died after becoming infected with COVID-19 - and is the sixth BAME GP to lose his life during the pandemic.

Dr Kamlesh Masson (Photo: Thurrock CCG)
Dr Kamlesh Masson (Photo: Thurrock CCG)

Dr Kamlesh Masson - a 78-year-old GP from Grays, Essex had worked for the NHS in the south Essex area for over 30 years.

He died on 16 April, more than three weeks after being admitted to Basildon Hospital with bilateral pneumonia caused by COVID-19. The Essex GP had been transferred to University College London Hospital on 31 March - his 78th birthday.

Dr Masson founded the Milton Road Surgery in Grays in 1985 - continuing to work at the practice until 2017, before switching to locum work in the local area. His last day in work was 12 March.

COVID-19 pandemic

The Essex GP is the seventh confirmed to have died from COVID-19, after the deaths of fellow Essex GPs Dr Habib Zaidi and Dr Fayez Ayache, Dorset GP Dr Craig Wakeham and London GPs Dr Yusuf Ismail Patel, Dr Syed Zishan Haider and Dr Krishan Arora.

Thurrock CCG chair Dr Anil Kallil said: 'We were very sad to hear of the passing of Dr Masson. He was a well respected and liked GP in Thurrock, with a significant contribution over the last 30 years in the borough caring for patients and providing support.

'Later he provided GP services in both Thurrock and Basildon. We extend our heartfelt thanks to Dr Masson for his commitment and passion and our condolences to his family for their loss.'

A statement from Dr Masson's family said he came to the UK in 1973 after completing medical training in India and working in East Africa. He worked in several parts of the UK initially before settling with his family in south Essex in 1975.

Clinical skills

His family said he was an 'excellent clinician whose drive to constantly improve his clinical skills and knowledge with passion and enthusiasm will remain with us all'.

The family said: 'Dr Masson was an honest, kind and generous man who was deeply respected by anyone who was privileged to cross paths with him. He was jovial, funny and kind, always wanting to make the best of any situation.

'Our lifelong thanks will go to the doctors and staff at University College London Hospital who fought tirelessly to save a hero’s life. He was a true gentleman who will be missed, but not forgotten.'

BMA leaders have warned that older BAME doctors should avoid working in high-risk roles during the pandemic amid rising concern over the disproportionate death rate among BAME health professionals.

The government has confirmed that it is investigating the impact of COVID-19 on people who are BAME, after health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said the high proportion of NHS staff who had died from the virus 'really worries me'.

BMA chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul has called for 'daily updates on ethnicity, circumstance and all protected characteristics of all patients in hospital as well as levels of illness in the community'.

He said earlier this month: 'The government must take every necessary step to address this devastating disparity and protect all sectors of the population equally and now. That is why the government must send a directive to every hospital telling them to record the ethnicity of patients who are admitted and succumb to COVID-19 immediately.'

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