From newborns to pensioners, GP has given three decades of service to city
After more than 30 years of service, Dr Martin Rowan-Robinson will today retire from Derby's Macklin Street Surgery. He spoke to Caroline Jones about his time there as a GP.
HE has helped to deliver babies in people's homes, he is the man behind getting Derby's medical students into placements at GP surgeries and he has worked to improve the lives of elderly people.
But Dr Martin Rowan-Robinson said the memory which touched him most, after more than 30 years of working at the same surgery, was the trust he had developed with his patients.
"Trust is a big thing for doctors, it's absolutely key," the 58-year-old said.
"As a GP, you get to know a lot of patients over many years and you form a long-term relationship with them.
"I don't think there is any other branch of medicine which allows you to do such a wonderful thing – there's nothing else like it."
Dr Rowan-Robinson, of Littleover, will be seeing patients for the last time today at Derby's Macklin Street surgery after deciding to hang up his stethoscope.
He first joined the practice in October 1982, when it was based in Leopold Street.
He said: "There have certainly been plenty of changes over the years, both at the surgery and in healthcare in general.
"I think, today, it is much more difficult to have that continuity of patients seeing the same doctor all the time.
"I guess that is purely because of the increase in the number of people wanting to see their GP.
"We also used to organise our own out-of-hours services on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays – something I can't say I was sorry to see go.
"I also think patients are much more informed about their health and really keen to be involved in their own care – again, I think that's another positive.
"But, while I think things have become more target-driven, the thing which hasn't changed is compassion and the need to help patients – the reason why people still come into this profession."
Dr Rowan-Robinson, of Blagreaves Lane, originally trained in Bristol and worked at a hospital in Blackpool, before taking a job in Chesterfield for three years.
He said it was the attitude of staff at the then Leopold Street Surgery, in Derby, which convinced him to join them.
Martin said: "The fact the city was so close to the Peak District was another good reason for coming to live here.
"But I remember walking to the practice and the receptionist was really welcoming, the doctors were really nice and the senior partner was absolutely lovely.
"I could tell the one thing they wanted to do was put the patient before anything else and that really mattered to me."
When Dr Rowan-Robinson started at the surgery, he was the paediatric doctor.
He said the GPs would also do their own obstetrics, a medical speciality dealing with pregnant women and childbirth.
He said: "I've obviously seen some of my patients grow up and grow older but, as time went on, I became the person who dealt with more elderly patients, particularly those who were more vulnerable and distressed.
"Sometimes, their health could restrict what they did and I would try to help them adjust and move with the changes."
Outside the surgery, Dr Rowan-Robinson pioneered several advances in the city's medical education.
His work has involved being course organiser for the Derby GP Vocational Training Scheme and associate professor at the Derby Graduate Entry Medical School.
Dr Rowan-Robinson said: "In the days when I was training, the first two years really was just about science.
"But today, there is a keenness for students to get some exposure and to land placements in practices like ours within the first 18 months.
"So it's been interesting to be involved in that and I think the graduate entry programme in Derby generally is a good thing, because of the people it brings to the city.
"The gentleman replacing me was a student on the first graduate intake and it's great to see how it has been flourishing and the talent it has been encouraging."
Dr Rowan-Robinson, who lives with wife Julie, 59, and has four children – Andrew, 31, David, 29, Heather, 27, and Richard, 22 – said he was looking forward to his retirement.
But he has no intention of being idle.
"I'm fairly flexible and I've got a few ideas about what I want to do. There are places I've always wanted to travel to and, in June, I'm looking to cycle from the Mediterranean to the Channel.
"More than anything, I'm looking forward to taking the time to enjoy things. As a doctor, I've always been really busy and never really found the time to enjoy the basics – like springtime and the sunshine."