I have been a GP at the Tredegar practice for 31 years and I am now in the process of retiring at the age of 69. I am no longer doing regular GP patient sessions, but I am tying up loose ends with some patients. From September, I will no longer be dealing with patients. I will continue to be a partner until a replacement is appointed. I will continue, in a limited way, to work with practice colleagues on improvement work.
As some of you will know, my wife (Dr Hodkinson) and I began in May 1991 as a jobshare. We had at the time 1 year old boy-girl twins and we shared the parenting and the GP work. We were then singlehanded. We were then in the ground floor council flat at 110 Tredegar Road. It was two part time receptionists, paper notes only, and us. No nurse, no computer. And a limited phone system: when there was a call, the phones rang in every room.
A lot has happened since then. A nurse joined us. We acquired a computer. We moved to St Stephens Road, the practice grew, and other GPs joined us, always as salaried GPs (this was their choice, not ours).
I chose to be a GP because I wanted to be what I then called a ‘street doctor’; general practice provided this context. I am very glad I made that choice. It has been a privilege to be a GP in Bow, to be part of a community, to form relationships with a wide variety of people and families. To work with people from birth, through the arc of life, ending eventually with death. I repeat, this has been an enormous privilege and I am very grateful for this.
I am very aware that for some people my retirement will be a loss: we have formed a trusted relationship over the years. I too feel a loss and sadness. A GP and a GP practice can provide a safe space and anchor in a community. I am hopeful that my colleagues will continue to provide that. Dr Hodkinson will be continuing for a few more years.
In my retirement I will be doing a history PhD at the University of Kent on the Vietnam wars 1946-1975, could this have been managed in a more constructive way?
My warm wishes and affection to you all; you know who you are.