JULY 31 marked the end of an era for the 3,600 patients registered at Lifton Surgery — for on this day GP Dr Mike Sparrow retired after 29 years’ continual service to the community of West Devon and North Cornwall.
Dr Sparrow has been an anchor for so many during an era of significant change in the NHS and general practice, and his reassuring and capable presence will be missed by many.
Last year, the Tavyside partnership in Tavistock took over day to day running of Lifton Surgery, and this arrangement will continue into the future. Effectively the two sites are now one practice, but the partners are particularly keen for Lifton Surgery to retain its ‘small practice feel’ and all the other qualities that differentiate village surgeries from larger urban health centres.
At the same time, it is important to ensure that the best services are made available to patients at smaller surgeries, so some small but positive changes will be inevitable at Lifton Surgery over the coming years.
Dr Graham Johnson, senior partner of the Tavyside partnership, said: ‘We are naturally sorry to see Dr Sparrow depart, but we all wish him well for a long and enjoyable retirement.
‘His will be a hard act to follow. We are grateful for his help and co-operation over the last year as we have gradually integrated Lifton Surgery with Tavyside, and hope that he will be able to see that the future of his practice, and the ongoing care of his patients, is assured.’
Dr Mark Eggleton has been working alongside Dr Sparrow for the past 12 months and will continue in post. He will be joined by Dr Vicky Evans and Dr Sarah Grace, who will cover Dr Sparrow’s sessions and a little bit more.
Other GPs from Tavyside will be seen at Lifton Surgery from time to time to cover holiday absences and to provide occasional extra clinics.