Radiologist celebrates 50 years of NHS service

Dr Alan Early, who has served 50 years in the NHS.

Dr Alan Early, who has served 50 years in the NHS. - Credit: Archant

A consultant radiologist at West Suffolk Hospital who began his career before the invention of CT scans, MRIs and ultrasound is celebrating spending 50 years working in the NHS.

Dr Alan Early, 73, first registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) on January 19, 1966, and has now spent 50 years and two weeks working for the health service.

He has since witnessed huge changes due to new technology and the common conditions which patients develop have changed.

'I am amazed to reach 50 years in the NHS,' said Dr Early, who is married with two children and three grandchildren.

'It really hit home when I received my GMC renewal notice and realised I'd reached that milestone.

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'When I first qualified, CT, MRI and ultrasound hadn't started and we used to use film, which has now been replaced by digital imaging.

'These advances have all made such a difference to the quality of the images we work with, and have also helped us to be more productive as we can complete diagnostic tests much more quickly, which is also good news for our patients.'

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Dr Early was born in Hull and worked in Middlesborough and Doncaster after completing his medical studies in London.

He underwent his consultant training in Newcastle after developing an interest in radiology, and then spent 28 years at Hull Royal Infirmary where he was in charge of the ultrasound service and spent several years as head of department.

He began working at West Suffolk Hospital in 2004 after moving to Cambridge at the suggestion of consultant radiologist Dr Malcolm Macfarlane, who trained in Hull and now works at the Bury St Edmunds trust.

'I spent some time in hospital as an inpatient when I was a child, and seeing the work which was done first hand made me decide to pursue medicine as a career,' added Dr Early.

'I have really enjoyed it and like helping patients and meeting people. It's been a really worthwhile job and I've had the pleasure of working with some lovely people.

'The difficult thing is going to be deciding when to retire. I have some vague plans about finishing at the end of this year, but currently work two days a week and am not quite ready to stop.'

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