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Popular GP says fond farewell after 35 years

PUBLISHED: 09:50 14 March 2008 | UPDATED: 14:52 07 September 2010

AFTER 35 years with the same practice a well-loved GP finally hung up his stethoscope last week. To mark his retirement Dr Andrew Elder threw a farewell tea party for his all patients and staff at the Paddington Green Health Centre

Sanchez Manning

AFTER 35 years with the same practice a well-loved GP finally hung up his stethoscope last week.

To mark his retirement Dr Andrew Elder threw a farewell tea party for his all patients and staff at the Paddington Green Health Centre.

Over 40 well wishers squeezed into the practice on Princess Louise Close to enjoy tea and cakes and say their final goodbyes to Dr Elder.

Fellow doctors, patients who had been visiting Dr Elder for more than 30 years and even the chairman of Westminster PCT Joe Hegarty, all clamoured to pay tribute to the modest GP.

One patient at the party, 89-year-old James Jacques, said: "He has been my doctor for 35 years and he has been exceptional. I'm so sorry he is going."

Another former patient, Charles Vance, 78, stood up and announced: "I was terminally ill and I'm not now. Thank you for giving me back my health and thank you for my life Andrew."

Mr Hegarty also gave a speech in which he singled out the retiring GP as a stalwart of the community who had led the way in areas like counselling and primary care.

But it was the practice staff who worked with Dr Elder day in day out who seemed most affected by his departure.

The practice manager, Alison Dalal, said: "I just think he's a wonderful man.

"He treats everyone in the team like a family member.

"He's the person who says let's have fish and chips on a Friday and he's the one who will have a Christmas party at his house.

"Most importantly, he's the one's who has kept our focus on people."

His successor, 30-year-old Dr Rishi Chopra, admitted: "I will be taking over his patient list but he's going to be a tough act to follow. His patients really admire him.

The 63-year-old doctor was visibly moved by the stream of compliments, but said that he was resolved to leave while he was still young and fit enough to pursue other interests.

"I've stayed here for the teamwork and the variety of people I've treated gravitating to this area from all over the world," he said.

"But it's the patient contact I'll miss most of all. I've loved my work and my patients have given me a huge amount by allowing me into their lives.

"It's very easy for doctors to think that it is all about the medicine, but in my view, understanding and listening to your patients is the most important thing.

"I still hope to be involved with GPs and the health service.

"And I will continue to write about mental health and the doctor-patient relationship.

"I feel as passionate about the health service and GP practice now as I did when I first started."

sanchez.manning@hamhigh.co.uk


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