Fred leaves prac­tice

South Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - By LIBBY KIS­SICK

When New Zealand be­came rugby world cham­pi­ons in June 1987, Dr Fred Simp­son and his wife left South Africa for a bet­ter life.

Af­ter liv­ing in Toko­roa for nine years and as gen­eral prac­ti­tion­ers stopped de­liv­er­ing ba­bies, the fam­ily moved to Cam­bridge.

It was a neu­tral ground for Dr Simp­son to travel 45 min­utes to work each day and closer to Waikato Hos­pi­tal for his wife’s nurs­ing ca­reer.

Now 24 years later, as the All Blacks have snatched the Webb El­lis back, the 62-year-old GP is step­ping away from his Bridge St med­i­cal prac­tice and his 1700 pa­tients.

Pa­tients hear­ing of Dr Simp­son’s exit have over­whelmed the doc­tor with ‘‘ gra­cious and lovely’’ re­sponses, cards, flow­ers and good wishes. That is what he is go­ing to miss the most, the pa­tients. ‘‘ You get quite close to fam­i­lies and it is go­ing to be dif­fi­cult to give up on that.

‘‘ Then there is the staff, on Cald­well’s and my side. They are all like fam­ily, it is a very happy work­place and I will miss that.’’

Of the men­tioned staff fam­ily, his re­cep­tion­ist Ann Spear has worked with him from day one when he used to work in a lit­tle prac­tice on Man­ner­ing St with a very spe­cial nurse Muriel Johns­son. Then there is Jill Edwards, who has worked as a nurse at his Bridge St prac­tice for more than 18 years.

In part­ner­ship with Dr Gor­don Cald­well since 1990, it was upon sell­ing the prac­tice to Pri­mary Health Care Ltd that the re­spected doc­tor de­cided to re­duce his work­load. ‘‘It should be a lot eas­ier for me as I will be able to avoid night work, week­end work and ex­cess of travel,’’ he said.

How­ever, he has no plans to re­tire. His plan is to do locum work four days a week in the Cam­bridge area. That and writ­ing, mainly po­etry, gar­den­ing, read­ing and vis­it­ing his daugh­ter in Turkey next April.

When asked about the num­ber of gen­er­a­tions he has seen in his time Dr Simp­son has seen ‘‘chil- dren of chil­dren I have de­liv­ered.’’

The fond­est mem­ory Dr Simp­son has is: ‘‘I have had the priv­i­lege of go­ing into lit­tle for­est prod­ucts houses to see sick peo­ple. To have the priv­i­lege of be­ing part of their lives – you know very ter­mi­nally ill peo­ple – I will never for­get that.’’

Deal­ing with the tragedies and the heart­break has been the hard­est part of his work but there has been a lot of happy stuff as well. ‘‘The hap­pi­est time is with the lit­tle kids,’’ he smiled. To­day is Dr Simp­son’s last day. Dr Kate Hop­kins, who ar­rived last week, will take over Dr

Dr Fred Simp­son’s time in Toko­roa has come to an end. Simp­son’s prac­tice. The 30 year old from Eng­land is buck­ing the trend of young GPS stay­ing away from ru­ral towns. ‘‘ We have missed hav­ing younger doc­tors com­ing in to the town but that’s just a world­wide phe­nom­e­non. It is re­ally nice to get Dr Hop­kins to come,’’ Dr Simp­son said.

As a med­i­cal pro­fes­sional for more than 24 years Dr Simp­son shares the se­cret to good health.

‘‘Hap­pi­ness. If you can be a happy per­son you are less likely to get sick.’’

Libby Kis­sick is a WIN­TEC jour­nal­ism stu­dent

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