Fred leaves practice
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