Dr Donal Collins Retirement Letter

Dear Patients,

The time has come for me to move on and retire from Highlands Road Surgery.

I would like to thank all of you for making my career here such a wonderful and memorable one. I started as a very junior GP in February 1995 and under mentorship of Dr Bellenger and partnership, I gained a good understanding of primary care and what looking after a population was about.

Then came leadership positions – Chair of FACE Ltd which delivered the ENT clinics out of Highlands Road, Chair of the local GP Federation which covered 40 GP practices, being part of NHS Vanguard Programme which won a Health Service Journal System Leadership Award in 2019 and not least, being Senior Partner in Highlands Road since Dr Griffiths retired.

All this was only possible by my interactions with you, learning from those and informing those higher up than me, whether their policies and interventions would work on real people – you. I was privileged to visit 10 Downing Street once with a group of other clinicians when David Cameron lived there.

None of this would have been possible without you.

My 25 years with each of you has been a humbling, beautiful experience I would do all over again if I could regain my youth.

I am leaving to do some work in Type 2 diabetes prevention/remission work which is where my passion lies, before I work on my golf handicap and fishing.

We have worked hard at ensuring the practice is ready for the future by being part of Primary Care Network – Sovereign Health. This allows us to employ more roles such as physiotherapy, pharmacists, social prescribers and health coaches. The leadership in the practice is fully engaged in making sure we deliver as safe and efficient model as we can through this crisis and well beyond this crisis. It gets the practice into a good place to work on population health which is where we put more effort into preventing disease, rather than just waiting for a condition to arrive and then react. This is really exciting and I wish we had access to this data some 20 years ago.

I leave knowing a strong group of clinicians and managers are in place to look after your health needs for the foreseeable future. Continuity and personal contact do remain strong principles within the practice, even though this can be difficult to achieve particularly in this Covid crisis.

I wish you all good health and happiness for the future.

Thank you.

Donal Collins