As was mentioned in the last update, after a career spanning four decades, Dr Wordley has decided that he will be retiring at the end of March. Here we have him reflecting upon his time here, which some of you might find interesting.
As I approach my 65th birthday I have decided that now is the time to hang up my stethoscope and retire.
It is hard to believe that it is over 40 years since I started working in Ripley. I first arrived in the summer of 1980, having just got married to my lovely wife Hilary, who is also a doctor. We were not expecting to stay in Ripley for very long as this was a GP training post.
During our first few weeks in Ripley we lived in an upstairs room at the old surgery as our new house in The Spinney was not quite ready. At that time the surgery was based in a large Victorian house at 1, Derby Road (where the Co-op supermarket now stands). Dr Aspinall was my trainer, and I gradually learned on the job how to be a GP.
Looking back, I realise how young and inexperienced I must have seemed, yet the partners (Drs Aspinall, Cox and Jones) obviously saw some potential as within a few months I was offered the chance to join the partnership. However, first it was necessary to spend six months working in the maternity unit in Derby, as the job would include supervising deliveries at Babington Hospital. These invariably happened in the middle of the night!
Soon after I arrived the surgery moved into brand-new premises just across the road at the top of Ivy Grove. This modern building served us well for about 25 years before it was completely outgrown, forcing us to move once more to the present large building, still known as Ivy Grove Surgery.
Forty years ago, all we needed was a couple of receptionists and a secretary. Five-minute appointments were ample, and we kept all our records on paper; two or three words were quite enough to record a consultation. When mobile phones came in they were very large, heavy and so expensive that we could only afford one for the on-call doctor. How things have changed!
What has not changed is the satisfaction of doing one’s best for every patient who comes through the door, and the passage of time has meant that I am now treating the children and grandchildren of people I first met in the 1980s. This feeling of continuity is what general practice is really all about and is a great joy. I have had the honour of looking after so many lovely families over the years.
My final year has of course been blighted by Covid-19, which has completely changed the way we work, and not really for the better. In terms of the use of technology and remote consultations I think ten years’ worth of change has been compressed into the last ten months. So it is with mixed feelings that I approach retirement, but I am actually more certain now that this is the right time.
I will miss the many charming and grateful patients I have known over the years, and above all the wonderful staff and colleagues who have made working at Ivy Grove Surgery such a joy. In compensation we will have more time to enjoy with our two young grandsons who live in London and I certainly have plenty of hobbies and interests to occupy my time, so do not expect to be bored.
Farewell, and my very best wishes to everyone.
Dr Tony Wordley
© Dr Michael Wong 2021