A long-serving family doctor has retired from the surgery in Portslade where she worked for the past 18 years.
Nicky Coleman, 58, was showered with gifts and cards from grateful patients as she finished her final session at the Links Road Surgery today (Tuesday 28 February).
Dr Coleman, who qualified as a doctor in 1983 and became a GP (general practitioner) in 1988, said: “Somebody said to me this morning that you know me so well, you know things about me that even my own mother doesn’t.
“I’ve been described as a professional friend. I’ve had huge appreciation shown and not always by the people I would have expected it from. That’s been lovely.
“I’ve had about 80 cards – mostly with very personal messages from patients who I’ve known from six months to seventeen and a half years thanking me for a very caring personal service.”
Dr Coleman was sat amid flowers, champagne, chocolates and other presents as she added: “It’s been quite overwhelming.”
When she joined Links Road in 1999 from a practice in Hertfordshire, she said, “I wanted to move to a smaller, more patient-centred practice.”
And alongside founder Alex Khot and fellow partners Julie Ebbage and Peter Alderman they have run a popular practice with a remarkable continuity until Dr Khot, 66, retired in September.
“I had two breaks,” Dr Coleman said, “when I had a hip replacement when I was 50 and when I had bowel cancer when I was 54. But apart from that I haven’t had a day off sick. I worked through my chemotherapy. That was challenging.”
And she praised the receptionists and her other colleagues and the way everyone at the practice worked together as a team.
She said: “I’ve had a personal list since I’ve been here. I know a huge number of my patients extremely well. I hope with the coming changes that that won’t disappear as it’s hugely valued by patients.”
She said that despite her and Dr Khot’s retirement – and the recent departure of their colleague Amilia Alifrangis – the practice was keen to keep the continuity of care and the personal touch that it’s known for.
Dr Ebbage and Dr Alderman remain as partners at Links Road alongside their colleagues Alex Tate and Rebecca Salmen.