Doctor’s death ‘a great loss’ to Leighton Buzzard

Dr Tariq Hafez
Dr Tariq Hafez

Staff at Leighton Road Surgery have paid tribute to Dr Tariq Hafez following news of his death last week.

Dr Hafez – a partner at the surgery – died in his native Egypt on Wednesday after a “short but brave” battle with cancer.

Scores of tributes have been paid to him since then.

Dr Farah Paruk, a fellow partner at Leighton Road surgery, described Dr Hafez as “an exceptional man”.

She said: “When he first started at the surgery, you could smell him before seeing him as he wore very strong aftershave! He did tone it down over time but he always dressed smartly!

“He seemed to dream ideas in his sleep – he had so many plans and ideas – some more realistic and others really ‘pie in the sky’, but all were ambitious and novel.

“Tariq ... was very kind hearted, worked incredibly hard and genuinely cared for all staff and patients... He was a true visionary and I feel lucky to have known and worked with him. I will miss him.”

Reception manager Sharon Avola said: “Tariq was the most caring and considerate boss I have ever worked for. Not only was he my work colleague but my friend and I will dearly miss him.”

Nurse Penny Kestel added: “Because of Tariq’s support and encouragement I was able to complete my degree in Respiratory Management. 

“I only wish I’d had the chance to tell him how much his support meant. I have my graduation in April and I’ll be thinking of him on that day.”

And nurse Lauren Barker said: “His work ethic and his commitment to his patients make me strive to be a better nurse. I will always be thankful for his wise words and I’ll never forget the kindness.”

Dr Hafez is survived by his wife and three sons.

OTHER TRIBUTES:

“No one can prepare you for loss, it comes as a swift wind. Tariq was a gentle man in every sense, he cared deeply for his colleagues and patients, he strived to preserve the innovative ethos of Leighton Road Surgery, and yet maintain a family feeling in the ever changing environment of the NHS. In Tariq I found a colleague, mentor and friend. Go in Peace.” VICKI COURAGE, NURSE

“Dr Hafez was a doctor who could be approached and respected other health professionals’ views. He was a great teacher, always supported me and went out of his way to do his best by my family so I could continue being at work. He will be missed by individuals, family and also the NHS! Thank you for everything Dr Hafez.” ABBIE BROWN, NURSE

“He was caring, kind and approachable. He loved to share his knowledge and was an amazing teacher. This is a truly devastating loss for his family, patients and colleagues at Leighton Rd Surgery,” ALLIE JACKSON, NURSE.

“My favourite memory is of wandering past the office one day when my son was here off school sick, and seeing Tariq sat with him, helping him download Minecraft onto the PC. It made me feel that working here was like having an extended family. He was always telling me off for running up and down the stairs - he said that ‘patients don’t like to see staff rushing about, it panics them!’ He made me laugh a lot.” KATHERINE JAY, MEDICAL RECEPTIONIST

“‘Wherever the art of Medicine is loved, there is also a love of Humanity.’ — Hippocrates. Dr Tariq Hafez demonstrated these principles, and will be remembered with great affection and respect.” LIZ SELBY, FORMER PRACTICE MANAGER

“Tariq was very dedicated and hard-working. He came to the practice initially as a locum.

“I remember one night I was doing the late surgery. Everyone had left the building, the cleaners had finished and gone home and so I set the alarm, locked up and left. Only when I was driving away did I notice an upstairs light on, then the alarm went and I re-entered the building to find that Tariq was still in there working!

“He was rather shaken and thanked me profusely for rescuing him. I don’t think I ever told him that it was I who had locked him in, in the first place!” DR TONY DAY, PARTNER