The seventh GP in the UK, and fourth from Essex, has died with coronavirus (Covid-19).
Dr Kamlesh Kumar Masson, 78, spent over 30 years as a GP in Thurrock, and died at University College London Hospital on 16 April.
Confirming the sad news in a statement, GP Dr Anil Kallil, chair of NHS Thurrock CCG, 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.’
Dr Masson moved to the UK in 1973, having undergone medical training in India and worked as a doctor in East Africa.
He proceeded to practise across the UK, including in Ashby De La Zouch, Leicestershire, and Kings Lynn, Norfolk, before settling in South Essex in 1975.
He founded Grays’ Milton Road Surgery a decade later, and worked there until 2017. Dr Masson spent the subsequent three years as a locum in the Thurrock and Basildon areas, completing his last day on 12 March, and also worked at Muree Medical Practice in Basildon.
Paying tribute, 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 as a reminder to always try to be the best. He was recognised in the locality by patients, colleagues and peers as a dedicated, determined, positive individual who would always do his utmost to help in all endeavours.
‘His thirst for knowledge was only seconded by his passion for his hobbies including cooking, clay-pigeon shooting and learning new languages.
‘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.
‘Dr Masson’s career came to unexpected end last month, when he unfortunately contracted Covid-19. This caused bilateral pneumonia requiring admission to Basildon Hospital on 22 March and then University College London Hospital on 31 March 2020 (his 78th birthday).
‘Dr Masson fought bravely, but tragically lost his battle with Covid-19 on 16 April 2020.’
His family also articulated their ‘lifelong thanks’ to the staff of University College London Hospital, who ‘fought tirelessly to save a hero’s life’.
They continued: ‘Dr Masson was taken from us too soon and still had so much to give. He had practised medicine for over five decades and was a dedicated servant to the NHS for 47 years. He would have wanted to practice medicine for many more years to come.
‘He was a true gentleman who will be missed, but not forgotten.’
Dr Zishan Haider, Dr Fayaz Ayache and Dr Habib Zaidi were the other GPs who died with Covid-19 and had worked in the Essex area. Dr Yusuf Patel also died in nearby Romford, while Croydon GP Dr Krishan Arora, and Dr Craig Wakeham, of Dorset, have sadly also died.
Six of this seven were men with BAME background, and the Government has launched a review into why this demographic appears worst-affected by the virus.
Anyone who would like to leave a message about Dr Masson or send their condolences is asked to email email@example.com, as the CCG will pass them onto his family. They can also send Pulse an addition for our tributes page.