A doctor is hanging up his stethoscope after running his GP’s surgery in Tring for nearly three decades.
Dr Tony Hall-Jones, 59, first came to the market town in August 1987 after making the decision to going into general practice, despite qualifying as a consultant cardiologist at Birmingham Medical School.
He set up The New Surgery with the aim of ‘bridging the gap’ between his patients and the hospital specialists while delivering ‘accessible family medicine’.
But a period of ill health last year caused him to take stock, and now he is retiring to spend more time with his family, while concentrating on his hobbies which are playing guitar, watching his beloved Arsenal FC and getting out on the golf course.
Dr Hall-Jones said: “It has been an honour to have served the residents of Tring and the surrounding villages, and many of you I regard as friends and not just as patients.
“I have worked tirelessly to listen to your concerns and hopefully I have delivered services that have met your needs.
“I have been aided and abetted by my wonderful team and I have been deeply honoured to be able to make a difference to peoples’ lives.”
In his time at the practice, Dr Hall-Jones forged relationships with both the local and national media, speaking out on a number of topics such as mad cow disease and pregnant women being denied the swine flu vaccine.
But what are the doctor’s thoughts on the future of the health service? He said: “The future of the NHS is uncertain, but what is clear, is that if the continuing squeeze upon resources within general practice continues then the general practice element of the NHS will fail.
“We deliver 90 per cent of the service for 7.5 per cent of the funding.
“Our youngest and brightest recruits are avoiding general practice like the plague.
“We must reward good practice and ensure that GPs deliver care of the highest possible standard.”
Dr Hall-Jones, who worked a 60/70 hour week on average, admitted part of his decision to move on was down to the government’s proposals for GPs to work a seven-day week.
Speaking to patients and staff, he said: “I wish all of you a healthy, happy and prosperous future, and I wish also to thank those of you who have taken the time to express their thanks in such kind words and gestures.
“I will never forget The New Surgery but now is the time to move on.”