Wrentham and Kessingland say farewell to Dr Drane

IN more than three decades as a family doctor, he helped thousands of patients with a vast array of ailments.

But for retiring GP Dr Nigel Drane, there is one case he will never forget.

When a man came to his surgery after a trip abroad, he also brought with him some unwanted 'souvenirs'.

'There was a guy who turned up with ticks under his skin – 20 or 30 of them,' he recalled.

'He had come back from Africa and they were buried in his skin. It was quite bizarre!'

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The only solution was to send the patient to another NHS site that was better equipped to deal with him.

Dr Drane recalled the story this week as he prepared to retire today after 32 years as a GP.

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The 61-year-old was given a very fond farewell by staff and patients at Longshore Surgeries, which has 7,500 people on the books at its Kessingland, Wrentham and Wangford practices .

Armed with his trusty stethoscope and blood pressure monitor, Dr Drane has seen many sights over the years although a few – including the unfortunate man with the ticks – would always stick in the mind.

Dr Drane, who lives in Wrentham, said another memorable incident took place during a home visit when he sat on a woman's bed – and much to his surprise a pig emerged from under the bedclothes!

When Dr Drane joined Longshore Surgeries in 1972, they were based in three GPs' homes but his appointment was followed by the creation of the Kessingland surgery and the setting up of the Wrentham and Wangford 'satellite' practices.

Explaining the surgeries' ethos, Dr Drane said: 'We wanted to bring science-based medicine into a family setting.

'I think it has been a great success.'

Dr Drane, who is originally from Norwich, said that over the last three decades, one of the main changes was he had witnessed was that people were now much more willing to visit GPs at an early stage if they thought they might have cancer or suffer from depression. Patients were also more aware of palliative care.

'People seem more comfortable talking about things now,' he added.

However, he admitted he harboured concerns over the new Health Reform Bill as it would lead to massive changes within the health service at a time when NHS budget was under pressure.

To mark his retirement Dr Drane, whose wife Jane used to teach at the Old School, Henstead, was given a card signed by patients and a farewell party was held for him on Tuesday evening.

He said he hoped to take up drawing and painting and possibly archaeology and also planned too enjoy more travelling and gardening.

'I have been very lucky to have worked here,' he said. 'It has been a real pleasure to have been here for 32 years.'

Dr Drane will be replaced from Monday by Peter Ho, who joins doctors Aysha Cockshott, David Johnston, Robert Coleman and Jane Scott, three nurses and 20 other staff at the Longshore Surgeries.

Helen Raven, dispensary manager at the Wrentham surgery, said they were sad to see Dr Drane go:

'He has been a wonderful boss,' she said. 'The practice and its patients are going to miss him very much.'

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