Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland



Popular Dromara GP decides to call it a day

ABOVE: Dr Helen Kirkpatrick who is set to retire after 45 years of practice.

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 Surgery.

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 doctor."

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 her retirement.

"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.

Ulster Star