Long-serving doctors retire
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.