Aviemore doctor signs off after three decades of providing TLC
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One of the strath’s longest-serving GPs has said it has been a privilege to provide care in the community for more than three decades.
Dr Gill Irvine will be retiring at the end of today, two weeks shy of her 60th birthday.
The popular GP has been a partner at Aviemore Medical Practice for the past 25 years and a doctor in the strath for more than 30 years.
She arrived at the health centre on August 1, 1988, as a GP trainee to complete her final year of training and later returned on April 1, 1992 to take a salaried post.
But even in the intervening period she was never far away from Aviemore apart from a four-month spell as an expedition doctor in Nepal.
She used to travel to Aviemore most weekends to cover Dr Neil MacDonald’s out-of-hours service from Saturday lunchtimes until Monday mornings.
Looking back on her career, Dr Irvine, originally from Bury, said: “It has been a privilege looking after folk and seeing them as babies and then having their own kids.
“I will miss the job a lot in many ways: the patients, my colleagues but I will still be doing bits and pieces. I always said I would retire at 60 but I am not going to give up work entirely.
“I will be doing some locum work and maybe some voluntary work overseas is in the plan but obviously that is on hold at the moment because of coronavirus.”
Dr Irvine was honoured last year for her work training students to become GPs in the region over the past 20 years.
Her commitment was recognised with her being awarded NHS Highland Trainer of the Year 2019.
She has also mentored many local school pupils interested in medicine.
New senior practice partner Dr Gilly Kirkwood said: “Gill’s given an exceptional level of care to her patients over the past 30 years. Her dedication has stretched far beyond the delivery of medical care.
“Her commitment to training the next generation of GPs has ensured she has passed on an ethos of high quality primary care that will continue into the future.
“We were immensely proud that this was recognised. Gill will be known locally as much for her recreational interests and community involvement as for her doctoring. We’re sure that the years ahead will be far from restful for her!”
Covid-19 has, of course, dominated the health and national agenda since mid-March.
Dr Irvine said whilst cases fortunately had not been widespread locally, the virus had been here. She said: “There were patients who had come back from ski holidays in Italy and France but were never tested.”
She thinks that coronavirus will change GPs’ practices with some positive spin-offs. Dr Irvine explained: “It is amazing the number of things that can be done by phone calls and video-consulting and this is more convenient for patients rather than them having to trail to the health centre.
“We will have learnt a lot of new information and it is about putting the useful things into practice.”
Away from work, the super-fit GP is a member of Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team.
She rejoined in 2013 after a three year stint from 1991-1994.
She has been a member of the Cairngorm Cycling Club since 1992 and is a keen and talented hill runner, winning first female in the Highland Cross and the over 50s ladies title at the Scottish Chamiponships when she finished third female overall.
Dr Irvine is a keen skier too, and has assisted the Cairngorm Ski Patrol over the years.
Gemma Munro, originally from Fort William but now living in Aviemore, will be joining the village’s practice on July 1. She is arriving from Linkwood Medical in Elgin where she is a partner.
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