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Doctor retires after 30 years

PUBLISHED: 12:13 25 June 2010 | UPDATED: 09:50 01 August 2010

A POPULAR doctor at Beccles Health Centre has announced his early retirement following 30 years of service in the town.

Dr Keith Douglas, 59, has been forced into early retirement because of the third episode of a chronic back problem which required major surgery last November.

A POPULAR doctor at Beccles Health Centre has announced his early retirement following 30 years of service in the town.

Dr Keith Douglas, 59, has been forced into early retirement because of the third episode of a chronic back problem which required major surgery last November.

Dr Douglas has been off work since then, and will officially retire at the end of June.

He said that his time off had given him time to reflect on the past 30 years, during which he has seen an enormous improvement in health standards. “I feel content that I have played my part in this,” he said. “I also feel privileged to have been involved with so many wonderful people through their life changing experiences. In one day you can share in the joy of a newborn child and later hold the hand of an 'old friend' who is fading away.

“A colleague once said to me that he had no time to chat to patients. I think this was one of the saddest things I had ever heard. I shall certainly miss chatting to mine. I would like to thank them all for letting me share their lives through the good and the bad.”

Dr Douglas, who graduated from Dundee University in 1977, moved to the area in 1978 and spent three years in the Great Yarmouth and Waveney GP training scheme, working at Northgate, Great Yarmouth general and Lowestoft hospitals when they were still fully functional units.

He and his wife Lesley moved to Beccles in 1981, when he succeeded Dr Don Hadman.

“My partners deserve thanks for their patience and support over the past difficult few years as do the superb staff at the practice, pharmacy and Beccles Hospital,” he continued. “I will miss them all.”

He also reserved thanks for his wife and his daughters Sarah and Emma. “General practice has certainly been more a way of life than a job, and this impacts greatly on the family,” he said. “I cannot thank Lesley, Sarah and Emma enough for their support and guidance.

“Unfortunately my retirement plans will have to wait as they involved a great deal of travelling so I will have to settle for gentler pursuits at present. We have no plans to move as we love this area and my wife will continue to work at Beccles Middle School where she is an assistant head teacher. I think that means I will be a house husband for a while yet.”

Beccles Health Centre said farewell to two other long-serving doctors in March, Dr Philip Smith and Dr Ian Battye who had both been in Beccles for more than 30 years.

The practice has recently recruited three new GPs following these retirements and will be recruiting to replace Dr Douglas in the near future.

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