Aldborough GP leaving village surgery after leading practice growth
09:40 15 August 2014
Archant Norfolk 2014
A long-serving village GP whose working life started at a bungalow in his boss’s garden is retiring this year.
Dr Philip Wood, 54, who has worked at Aldborough Surgery for 26 years, is leaving on December 31 to do voluntary work.
But despite the increasing challenges facing the NHS and GPs, Dr Wood, from Bessingham, said the future for the practice was secure.
Another long-term staff member of the surgery, practice manager Julie Grey, 50, from Old Catton in Norwich, will be leaving at the end of this year because she is getting married and moving out of Norfolk.
Dr Wood, originally from Yorkshire, said: “I’m not leaving on a negative note. I’m leaving with sadness. I have been very happy here. There have been sad times but there have also been fun times.
“Aldborough has a strong sense of community and that is something that is different to a city practice. You get to know your patients and families.”
After studying medicine at Cambridge University he spent just over three years at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital.
He became an assistant for Dr Colin Skipper at Aldborough, who worked from a bungalow in his garden, in 1988. He became the village doctor when Dr Skipper retired in 1992 and worked out of temporary outdoor buildings on farmland until the Chapel Road surgery was built in 1994.
The practice was doubled in size nearly three years ago which allowed it to take on more patients and services.
When Dr Wood became the main GP he care for 1,650 patients and now there are 3,150. The surgery now has 20 staff and trains medical students
Dr Wood said: “The workload is getting harder and I’m finding it hard to do the job as I would like to do it. I have also put a lot of myself into the practice and after 26 years it isn’t getting easier but I’m very positive about its future.”
Speaking about the health service, he added: “The hand of bureaucracy weighs very heavy. Sometimes you get the feeling that the nitty-gritty work of looking after patients is being marginalised by what is being thrown at us.”
GPs felt the “rough end” of political and media scrutiny, when all they wanted to do was care for patients.
Dr Wood was confident replacements would be found for him and Miss Grey, who has worked at the surgery for nine years.
Dr Mark Fleming, the other partner at the surgery, joined four years ago and will continue.
A locum, Dr Gillian Masters, who has worked at the centre for 10 years as an assistant doctor will be leaving on September 1 but will not be replaced.
Do you have a north Norfolk health story? Email firstname.lastname@example.org