Farewell after five decades
Horsham’s Carolyn Bilson plans to ‘re-fire’ rather than retire when she leaves her role at Lister House Clinic next week.
Mrs Bilson started as a receptionist at the clinic in 1968, ‘when the only prerequisites were competency in English, be an efficient typist and have legible handwriting’.
“When I started there were eight doctors, four staff members and one theatre assistant,” she said.
“There was an influx of doctors and specialists over the years, taking the number of professionals to 13. Sadly the departure of six doctors from November 2016 has brought the number of doctors back down to that of the late 1960s.
“I think there needs to be more incentives to attract young doctors to our beautiful part of the world.”
Mrs Bilson said the clinic itself had undergone a raft of alterations and extensions to become ‘the light, airy, modern building it is today’.
She said she had loved working at Lister House.
“I started working went part-time when babies,” she said.
“I went back full-time again and now I’m finishing as a part-timer. Throughout my time here many staff have come and gone. I’ve trained most of the receptionists and hopefully they didn’t pick up too many of my bad habits.
“I’ve also been lucky to work as a personal receptionist for Dr Chris Foord, Dr David Leembruggen, Mr Graham Kitchen and Mr Ian Campbell.
“I’ve made many friends and I’ve enjoyed seeing so many special patients, some as babies who went on full-time, then I had my two to become parents and even grandparents.
“I hope I’ve been able to offer a sympathetic ear and understanding.
“To see a patient leave with a smile on their face is a wonderful feeling.”
Mrs Bilson said she said looked forward to the next chapter of her life, which would include spending more time with her husband Bryan and their family, as well as delving further into her passion for art.
Mrs Bilson has won prizes for her painting and has exhibited work on many occasions, but hopes some additional spare time will allow her to become ‘more prolific’.
Mrs Bilson will finish work at Lister House on Wednesday next week.
“Every day at Lister House has been a challenge but there is nowhere else I’d rather work,” she said.