Doctor hangs up stethoscope after 37 years

Dr Alan Mason hangs up his stethoscope after dedicating his 37-year career to Eyemouth and Coldingham.
Dr Alan Mason hangs up his stethoscope after dedicating his 37-year career to Eyemouth and Coldingham.

An Eyemouth doctor has hung up his stethoscope for good after dedicating his career to patients there.

General practitioner Alan Mason saw his last patient at the surgery on Tuesday after starting his career at the town’s medical practice 37 years ago.

The 64-year-old, who lives in Coldingham with his wife of 41 years, Anna, said: “From about the age of eight, I always wanted to be a doctor. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do, so I have lived the dream really.

“I have been very lucky to have been able to get the job I wanted and to live in an area that I love.”

Originally from Newcastle, Alan moved to Berwickshire after completing his training at Manchester University in 1976.

At the time, Eyemouth’s Surgery was operated by just one GP, Michael Fenty, and his house was the base for the Coldingham practice.

It wasn’t long before Alan became a partner, and he has since enjoyed watching the practice grow with the addition of Cockburnspath’s surgery.

He can be credited with his dedication to tackling both diabetes and drug addition.

He said: “It has been challenging. Back in the 1990s, there were no addiction services, so we set about helping those who needed it as best we could through the likes of substitutes and trying to improve their lives generally.

“There were about 50 heroin addicts in the area at that time, and now I believe there are around 20, so that has really reduced quite dramatically.”

Alan also worked as doctor for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s crew at St Abbs for over 30 years.

He was also a key figure in the campaign against the closure of the St Abbs station back in 2015.

Now, the grandfather of two is looking forward to spending his retirement playing golf, travelling and devoting more time to his wife and two daughters, Jenny and Carole.

He said: “It’s great to be part of the community. The last week has involved a lot of sadness, and a lot of the staff have been here a very long time.

“We all get along very well, though, and I am sure we will meet on regular occasions.

“I have enjoyed working with the people of this community greatly. The patients are fantastic, so interesting and good fun. It has been quite sad having to say goodbye to my patients, some of whom I have known for years.”

Eyemouth colleague Kirsty Robinson, a doctor with the team since 2006, said: “Alan has worked in the practice for over three decades and, as a result, he will be greatly missed by many local patients and families.

“Many practice staff have worked alongside Dr Mason for long periods of time and will miss his sense of humour and knowledge of the local community.

“Alan has always focused his working time on patient contact and has been an advocate of traditional family medicine.

“We wish him well in his retirement in the hope that this provides opportunity for him to spend more time with his family and enjoy his leisure interests.”