Long-serv­ing doc­tors re­tire

Farewell planned

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By PETRICE TAR­RANT

More than 90 years’ doc­tor­ing ex­pe­ri­ence will be missed when Barry Knight and Dun­can Gads­den hang up their stetho­scopes for the last time next month.

It has been a phe­nom­e­nal jour­ney for both part-time GPs who worked at the lo­cal Medi­cen­tre be­fore three of the town’s four clin­ics were amal­ga­mated in Fe­bru­ary.

Knight, who has of­fi­cially moved into his Whanga­mata home, said he is con­tent know­ing his pa­tients of 50 years will not be left in the lurch.

‘‘I’ll be sad but I think if you just walked out be­cause you couldn’t prac­tice it would be much harder.

‘‘We have been able to col­lec­tively set up this sys­tem which al­lows for con­ti­nu­ity . . . You can’t look after pa­tients for half a cen­tury and then just say ‘bye’.

Still work­ing at 76 years of age, Knight’s pas­sion for his pa­tients is clear.

‘‘I think ev­ery doc­tor is quite priv­i­leged to have pa­tients that take his ad­vice and care. I think I’ve been very for­tu­nate. I’ve had ex­cel­lent pa­tients, they’ve been very con­sid­er­ate and loyal and they’ve put up with me for 50 years.’’

And Gads­den, 70, couldn’t have agreed more.

‘‘Since the amal­ga­ma­tion I’ve been re­ally keen to see this move suc­ceed and so we’ve done the best part of 12 months here.’’

Gads­den’s last day will be on De­cem­ber 19, and he is look­ing for­ward to a well-earned re­tire­ment.

‘‘It’s been very hard work and I speak for every­body in­volved [with the amal­ga­ma­tion].

‘‘It’s been a priv­i­lege to have shared the ca­ma­raderie and in­tent to make this work and I think ev­ery­one has gone way beyond con­trac­tual obli­ga­tions to see this bird fly.’’

And it was almost there, he said.

‘‘It’s wings are out and it’s walk­ing on the wa­ter.’’

He said it has been tough go­ing through the tran­si­tion pe­riod with re­duced man­power, but it has had its spe­cial mo­ments.

‘‘It has been won­der­ful to work more closely with peo­ple like Cald­well and Kirkby and Froyen and in that re­gard this is truly re­mark­able.’’

It was an in­evitable move, he said.

‘‘Part of the rea­son we all moved here is we all fore­saw this day com­ing. We knew that many of us would be com­ing to re­tire­ment simultaneously . . . and re­cruit­ment of GPs is an is­sue.’’

He said his de­par­ture has been made ‘‘a lot eas­ier’’ know­ing a doc­tor has been ap­pointed in his place.

Pri­mary Health Care Ltd business man­ager Mark Tay­lor said two re­place­ment doc­tors would fill the gaps left by Knight and Gads­den. One will ar­rive early De­cem­ber, fol­lowed by the sec­ond in Jan­uary.

‘‘[ Knight and Gads­den] have worked with us in the tran­si­tion pe­riod, they will be sorely missed by staff and their pa­tients and we wish them a long and healthy re­tire­ment.’’

He said feed­back from the com­mu­nity is that pa­tients would like the op­por­tu­nity to say goodbye and so the South Waikato Med­i­cal Cen­tre plans on hold­ing an af­ter­noon tea for them – the date still to be con­firmed.

‘‘It’s ob­vi­ous they’ve both got a spe­cial bond with their pa­tients.’’

Sign­ing out: Dr Dun­can Gads­den is re­tir­ing after 41 years as a doc­tor.

Home time: Toko­roa’s popular GP Barry Knight is re­tir­ing after 50 years ser­vice to the com­mu­nity.

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