ABOVE: Dr Helen Kirkpatrick who is set to retire after 45
years of practice.
WHEN Dromara GP Dr
Helen Kirkpatrick was a little girl she wanted to be a doctor
just like her father.
Not only did she fulfil her ambition, she
literally followed in his footsteps by working at Dromara
Now, after 45 years of practice Dr Helen, as
she is affectionately known by her patients, has decided to
retire at the end of June.
Dr Helen graduated in 1962 and began
practising at Annahilt with her father.
"In 1974 my father died and I joined with the
doctors here and we founded the practice," she said.
Since then she has witnessed many changes,
including the introduction of computers, advances in medicine
and changes in people's attitudes.
She said being the village GP for so many
years has been beneficial for both her and the patients.
"It builds people's confidence when they know
their doctor so well. People in rural areas confide in their
She added that knowing a family's medical
history is also a plus and said she has treated three
generations of many local families.
Dr Helen admitted she has mixed feelings about
"I know I will miss it. I will miss my
friends - because I consider my patients as friends," she said.
Once she retires Dr Helen certainly won't be
at a loss for things to do.
"I travel a lot, I'm a member of the
Methodist Church and I play golf and bridge," she said.
She added she would like to thank the doctors
in the practice - including her partners Dr Hicks and Dr Smith,
the practice manager and the rest of the staff. She also thanked
her patients for their loyalty over the years.
An event in her honour will take place on
June 21, in Second Dromara Presbyterian Church Hall.