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With very mixed emotions, we have had to say goodbye to Dr Steve Summers, who has retired after 34 years with the practice. Steve has been a stalwart of the team with an energy and enthusiasm matched by no-one. He combined incredible medical knowledge with deep compassion and he will be missed keenly by both staff and patients. We are so happy that he is relishing an active, happy retirement in Wales but so sad that he has left us.

Please see below for some of his reflections on the decades he spent at PMG.

“34 Years at Park Medical Group.

Firstly  – it went fast. Ive had the luxury of working with great people in a job I enjoy and value, so I will miss it.

I’m more accustomed to looking ahead than back, but I can reflect now;  on how much the practice has changed, how the work of a GP has changed, and how much the work of a GP has stayed the same. There are patients who will stay in the mind with great clarity, and I will forever value the support of my colleagues throughout the practice. This is often unspoken but hugely important.

There is a photo on the wall at Fawdon showing the whole team almost 30 years ago. I can’t believe how young I look. I even had a full head of hair! We had very recently moved into our new surgery building, vacating a rather dilapidated and far too small semi detached house whose garage had been converted Ito a waiting room. In those days we covered the evenings and nights  – 24 hour care – patient calls going to our homes to be answered by our non medically trained partners if we were already out on calls, likely to be searching for a phone box to ring home to check no more calls had come in. Life without s mobile phone was possible though that’s now hard to imagine. We had 7500 patients 5 drs 1 nurse no manager and about 6 receptionists. Now we have 2 buildings 13000 patients up to 10 GPs up to 3 registrars, students, a large nursing teaming ,a total staff of approximately 36, a consultation rate 3-4 times higher than when I joined, and then there’s the admin and targets!! Demands and complexity bear little comparison to 34 years ago.

I’ve no doubt changed with time, from the 29 year old realising one day that all of the senior GPs were away leaving the practice in the hands of three young lads (that was a wake up call day I clearly remember) to the senior GP in the practice with years of registrar training experience and roles outside of the practice that included chairing regional urgent care meetings with all of the NE trusts and chairing our local CCG. 

Yet its the direct patient care that I have valued the most and will miss the most. This last bit, the part that takes place between the Dr and the patient in the consulting room, is the bit that hasn’t changed much at all.

People are good – well 99%+ of people are good , and its a real privilege to have been trusted by folk over such a long time period.

The practice remains in excellent hands and I wish all, the GPs, nurses, reception and admin staff and f course the patients, the best for the future.”

Steve summers