A CONSULTANT at Musgrove Park Hospital who has devoted more than 50 years to the NHS has retired.

Ian Eyre-Brook was an upper gastrointestinal and later a colorectal surgeon at Musgrove.

He was a student in Bristol from 1970, spent a year in Newcastle and completed his training in Sheffield.

He moved to work in Gloucester before arriving at Musgrove in 1990 as a consultant.

Mr Eyre-Brook said: "Back then we had only four general surgeons at Musgrove covering GI, breast and vascular care – a far cry from nowadays, where we have about eight colorectal and five upper GI surgeons.

“When I started work in Taunton, there was such a thing as a lunch break and I found that I learned so much from the older, more experienced, consultant colleagues during that lunch time.

“I have always found the interpersonal aspects of surgical care as stimulating as the more technical aspects.

"While the technical aspects of surgery have changed greatly, the essentials of communication with patients have remained the same.

“The major improvement that I have witnessed in my time in Taunton is the increased priority that is now given by all to good communication with patients.

“I feel that Musgrove has always been a nice hospital to work in, and my nursing and medical colleagues have been excellent throughout my time here.

"I have appreciated our management team, who I feel have shared the same goals as myself.

“I have been lucky to have had the support of good and very efficient secretaries, without whom I could not have managed a busy practice.

"I did my last clinic in Taunton with the same clinic nurse that I had for my first clinic."

Mr Eyre-Brook has witnessed many changes over the years with new technology such as keyhole surgery.

He added: "I’ve enjoyed every aspect of my career...one of the real positives for me was seeing a department that wasn’t always in the best place, coming together to become an exemplar at the hospital, which meant newer trainees tended to want to come to work with us permanently."

He has been working part-time to prepare for retirement, but will do one weekly session of remote work for the rapid diagnostic clinic.

He will spend more time gardening, bird watching, fishing, chairing his local residents' association and looking after his grandchildren.

Musgrove medical director Dr Mike Walburn said: “Mr Eyre-Brook has been a force of nature during his time as a consultant at MPH.

"He has demonstrated exemplary commitment to patient care and innovation of services.

“On a personal note, Ian has been a delight to work with professionally and I thank him for his friendship and support.”