‘I’m hanging up my stethoscope’: Redbridge GP retires after 28 years

Dr Rajesh Patel. Photo: Manj Dubb

Dr Rajesh Patel. Photo: Manj Dubb - Credit: Archant

A Redbridge GP is hanging up his stethoscope after 28 years of serving his community.

Dr Rajesh Patel, 62, estimates he has treated over six thousand patients since he set up the Fullwell Avenue Surgery in Clayhall in 1988.

More than 200 of his patients turned up to wish him a happy retirement at an open afternoon held on Thursday, November 30.

Dr Patel said: “It has been emotional to see so many patients come and say farewell.

“I have really been deeply touched.

“It is the first time today that I had a farewell tear drop fall from my eye.”

Dr Patel has been the only GP at the surgery and has been supported by main practice nurse manager Manjeet Dubb and practise manager Rita Patel.

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Moving to Clayhall in 1986, he dedicated himself wholeheartedly to his job and the wellbeing of his patients.

Over the years, Dr Patel has developed strong relationships with residents.

“You form a bond with them, their children and their grand children. They become like family,” he said.

“You must feel their pain personally so that you can treat them better.”

But now that he has retired, Dr Patel hopes to go on more walks, cook more Indian food for his wife and watch cricket and football, supporting both Manchester United and West Ham.

The most challenging aspect of being a GP has been keeping up with paperwork which would often expand in to his private time.

To improve the quality of GP services going forward, Dr Patel recommends that staffing levels are increased so that all patients are able to get an appointment within 24 to 48 hours.

He has managed to achieve this at his own practise, he said, but he is aware of longer waiting times for patients in other areas.

Talking about what he will miss about his time at the practice, he said: “I have accompanied many of my patients through phases of their life.

“And there are some patients who I will be leaving half way through.

“I hope that the second half goes well for them.”