Doctors retire

Patients have said a personal farewell to two of their doctors who have retired after clocking up a combined total of 63 years at the Mattishall and Lenwade surgeries.

Patients have said a personal farewell to two of their doctors who have retired after clocking up a combined total of 63 years at the Mattishall and Lenwade surgeries.

People who have been patients of Dr Richard Hughes and Dr Adrian Hodge took an opportunity of personally saying goodbye and thanking them when an “open house” event was held at Mattishall Church Rooms, next to the Mattishall surgery.

They were also invited to write their comments, thanks and memories in books for each doctor and these will be given to them at a later date as part of their farewell gifts.

Earlier on Thursday staff at the two surgeries had made their own presentation to the two doctors. They were each given boxed sets of champagne and champagne flutes engraved with the names of the Mattishall and Lenwade surgeries. Their wives, Julie Hughes and Lynne Hodge, were given bouquets.

Mr Hodge, 60, has been a GP at the surgeries for 28 years and he will be kept busy in his first few months of retirement helping with the arrangements for his daughter Anna's wedding to William in September in the family's home village of North Elmham. She is a doctor currently working in New Zealand. His other daughter, Sarah, is also a doctor in Birmingham and is training to be an anaesthetist.

Dr Hodge trained in Glasgow and came to Norfolk in 1975 when he worked at the old Norfolk and Norwich Hospital. He then worked for a short time in Hethersett and Gorleston before moving to mid-Norfolk.

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“I had always planned to stay in the Mattishall area because I have had marvellous colleagues to work with and very friendly patients. One of the joys and strengths of our practice has been our patients,” he said.

Dr Hodge said that he always tried to embrace the ever changing health service, some with more enthusiasm than others.

“In general practice you just have to move with the times, here will always be change. I thank that general practice in Norfolkis sufficiently flexible to be able to cope with just about anything that is thrown at it,” he said.

Dr Hughes, 60, said that his immediate plans after working 35 years were to take a breather for a couple of months but he would have several leisure interests, including country pursuits and gardening and to keep him busy.

He and his wife, Julie, who have two grown-up daughters, Caroline and Nikki will continue to live at Hardingham.

Dr Hughes, who trained in Yorkshire, is very much a believer in the family doctors' practice where the doctor knows his patients well and they know him.

“For the first 25 years of my time here I don't think that the NHS service offered by local GPs could have been improved but in the past 10 years there have been tremendous changes but not always for the good,” he said.

“Our patients have been fantastic and we have been very lucky with our staff and I have been totally overwhelmed with the letters and cards I have been sent expressing good wishes,” he said.

The surgeries will be run in future by Dr Kenneth Webb, Dr Hywel Jones and Dr Elizabeth Jones and in addition there will be three GPs. The surgery business manager Stephen Smith is due to retire in September.

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