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General Practitioner - Dr Cameron Irving

Please see an open letter from Dr Irving to all patients announcing his upcoming retirement in March 2024;

Having qualified in 1990 from Leeds Medical School, carried out my house officer placements in Leeds at St. James’ University Hospital and then Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, I came to Elmwood Family Doctors in 1994 as a final placement on the Huddersfield three year GP vocational training scheme.

Having done an initial stint in primary care in Marsden under the tutelage of Dr. Andrew Deacon there followed 6 month placements as a senior house officer at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary in ENT followed by general medicine and finally , obstetrics and gynaecology. My placement at Elmwood was to be the final segment of the scheme under the care of Dr. Phil Jennison and happened to coincide with the practice looking to expand its workforce to accommodate the increasing demand driven by new homes being built in the valley. Dr. Barry Hobson, senior partner at the practice and head of the Huddersfield GP Vocational Training Scheme at the time, along with other local GPs, had created an exciting, innovative training scheme which challenged many of the stereotypes of medicine practiced over previous decades and looked to foster a new, more holistic, patient centred, way of delivering medical care. Very much a product of this ethos I was thrilled at the end of my training to be offered a place within the partnership and have lived, raised a family and worked in the Holme Valley with a group of dedicated, caring and like-minded partners ever since.

Primary care in the U.K. has changed significantly since those days grappling the ever-changing parameters offered by an ageing population, more people living with more and more co-existent medical problems, the ability to intervene medically far more than we were ever able to before, and different political ideologies constantly changing the goal posts within which we function.

Having worked full time for the vast majority of my tenure as a G.P. has dominated my life. I have never resented this and have always considered what we do as GPs to be an absolute vocation far more than just ‘a job’. Working for the partnership over the last 29 years has been an absolute joy. None of us take for granted the tremendous privilege it is being allowed into other people’s lives, often at their most desperate and challenging, and sharing the many journeys offered, sometimes to a place of healing, sometimes to the end of life’s road. We always try to, but don’t always get it right, and I feel humbled and hugely respectful of our patients’ acceptance and understanding of this.

We all, however, have something of a shelf life, regardless of the duties that we perform. I found working during the Covid pandemic particularly challenging and, as a consequence, reduced my working commitment last year to 3/4 time. This has helped return a sense of balance but I have come to realise a desire to pursue other directions in life while health and circumstances allow.

I have therefore decided to stop working as of March 31st next year. I leave behind an incredibly talented, passionate and caring group of younger colleagues who will, I know continue to serve our community to the very best of their abilities.

I plan to stay resident in the Valley and you may see me pedaling around on my bike from time to time. Do say hello!

Dr Cameron Irving