As the eagle-eyed among you will have noticed I have not been around for the last 6 months. Around 5 years ago, as some of you are already aware, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and over the past year or so, symptoms had begun to interfere more and more with my working life til eventually I was forced to take an extended break. During this time, and after a lot of thought, I have decided to retire early, several years before I would normally have planned. If I was retiring in the normal manner I would have had plenty of time to say Cheerio to everyone but because of the circumstances I thought it best to bore you all with this short note instead.
Off and on, my entire life has been related in some way to Port Glasgow. 40 years ago, when I was a student, I worked in the Port pool as a lifegaurd during the summer months. I probably barred some of you for life for misbehaving with the rubber brick (It’s OK you can go back now). I was especially good at twirling my whistle. Then, as a junior surgeon I used to do outpatient clinics in the health centre and I was fed excellent cakes by the treatment room after each session. I used to be skinny before that and, of course for nearly 25 years I have been a GP in what is now Newark Medical Practice.
Over those years The Port has changed dramatically, mostly for the better. What has not changed significantly are it’s people. You are, quite simply, a fantastic bunch of folk – kind, resilient, funny, smart-with a sense of community which is rare nowadays. It has been a great pleasure and a distinct privilege to work as your doctor all these years and I was never once tempted to move elsewhere. You have put up with my absent mindedness, occasional grumpiness and frankly terrible dress sense with graciousness, understanding and a sense of humour. Some of you I watched grow up and all of you I have watched grow older and I have no doubt that I will miss many of you for quite some time after I leave. I will also miss the fantastic people I have worked with over the years as part of the practice team, and who have made my working life so much better than I could have anticipated. I know they will continue to provide you with an excellent and caring service and I know you will continue to support them (and my replacement Doc) as you have supported me.
So goodbye for now, look after yourselves and each other, best wishes for the future and don’t forget your Five-a-day!
P.S. My wife, Michele, has just read this and says I have to put in a bit about how great she has been as well and that my lack of dress sense wasn’t her fault. Well to be fair she is great and had it been up to her I would have been just as smart as Dr. Wilkie but without the crazy ties.