A doctor who has treated people in Cramlington for more than 35 years has thanked staff and patients after reaching his retirement date.
When a new practice was set up at the Eastfield Centre, in what was then a growing new town, in 1980 to help reduce the workload on GPs in the town centre, Dr Alan Dove was chosen to run it.
He was a senior partner at a practice in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, when he responded to an advert in the British Medical Journal.
The facility in Shankhouse had 1,500 patients by the end of the first three months and it continued to grow quickly, with a second partner (Dr Ward) coming on board.
Government rules on reaching a required population from the doctors list before being able to borrow money meant they had to wait until 1990 before opening the Brockwell Surgery on Northumbrian Road.
Two more practices were later added to Brockwell Medical Group and now there are about 12,000 patients at Brockwell, 4,000 in the Seaton Delaval surgery and 1,000 in the Seaton Sluice surgery.
Dr Dove, 70, said: “Over the years, the medical group has produced economic stability for the people who work for us, never mind the provision of medical care to thousands of people.
“I will miss my colleagues and patients and I’m very grateful for all the messages of support since I announced that I was going to retire. I’m looking forward to having more time with my grandchildren and for travelling, walking and going to the theatre.”
He added: “The importance of being a large practice in the current climate can’t be understated.
“It’s very beneficial because the GPs can help each other with various skills and treatment methods.”