A POPULAR doctor, caring for patients in Saddleworth and Mossley for 34 years, has retired.
Dr Catherine Campbell put down her stethoscope for the final time at the end of last month to mark her 60th birthday.
She leaves her main practice at Pennine Medical Centre on Manchester Road in rude health.
But Dr Campbell, also a familiar figure at the Greenfield surgery on Chew Vale, fears colleagues left behind may struggle to cope in the future as the two areas are repeatedly targeted by house builders.
“I don’t think services such as doctors and schools can cope but no one takes any notice,” she told the Independent.
“We had around 11,000 patients when I started and we have around that number now,” she added.
“But in order to maintain the standard of service we have cut down the practice boundaries.
“Originally we would have gone up to Denshaw and across to Millbrook. However, because there is so much more building in Mossley and Greenfield our boundaries have shrunk.
“We don’t take on new patients from outside our current area in order to maintain the service. So, we have the same number of patients but in a more compact area.
“They will build new houses and say ‘there’s a doctor’s there.’ But what they don’t say is that the doctor is already stretched to the limit.
“Schools find themselves really stretched as well. We can’t give the service we are giving at the moment.
“You have to build houses because people have to live somewhere but you have to look at the resources at the same time.”
Dr Campbell came to Mossley as a trainee for 12 months in 1982. “Thirty-four years later I am still here,” she laughed.
“I will miss the patients who I have known over the years.
“I have got patients who come to see me who I did the ante natal on their mothers and now they are bringing their children. It’s actually quite nice even if it does make me feel old!
“And things have completely changed since I started. We didn’t have a practice manager, we didn’t have staff taking bloods, we didn’t have practice nurses.
“But it is better now and we can do more services than we ever could.”
She added: “I have been part time for two years so this decision has been coming. I will miss it but I am looking forward to doing other things, including more travelling.”
A replacement for Dr Campbell has already been recruited – Dr Rebecca Warin.