'I've loved every minute': Surgery manager retires after 36 years

Elizabeth Welcher retires after 36-and-a-half-years of working at Doddington Medical Surgery.

Elizabeth Welcher (centre) retires after 36-and-a-half-years of working at Doddington Medical Surgery. - Credit: BEN JOLLEY

A Doddington "legend" is retiring today after 36-and-a-half-years of being at the heart of the village surgery family.

Elizabeth Welcher, known to friends and family as Lib, started at Doddington Medical Centre with Dr Michael Marsh when it was a single-handed practice of less than 2,000 patients. 

As it developed over the years, the rural practice grew to now having five sites and a population of 19,000.

“When I first started here I was secretary and, over the years, I’ve worked in dispensary and have since been practice manager for 30 years," she said.

Elizabeth Welcher retires after 36-and-a-half-years of working at Doddington Medical Surgery.

Elizabeth Welcher retires after 36-and-a-half-years of working at Doddington Medical Surgery. She was presented with flowers and a card by the Fenland Group Practice team. - Credit: FENLAND GROUP PRACTICE

“In this role you do a bit of everything," she added; "we've gone from having eight staff members to 83 so HR has become a huge part of what I do."

Lib said one of the biggest changes during her time has been to do with technology: "When I started we had paper notes that would go through the hatch but now everything is done online. 

Having worked with Lib for 17 years, senior partner Dr Simon Hamlin called it "an end of an era". 

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“She’s a legend. It’s hard to put into words what she’s achieved and the regard she’s held in. She’d just been here forever and is like a part of the furniture.

Doddington Medical Surgery practice manager Elizabeth Welcher and Dr Simon Hamlin

Elizabeth Welcher retires after 36-and-a-half-years of working at Doddington Medical Surgery. She is pictured with Dr Simon Hamlin. - Credit: BEN JOLLEY

“I never thought she would retire. We’re going to miss her terribly.

“I hope she has a long and extremely happy retirement - and she’ll be able to have her first lie in for 40 years."

Dawn Thurston, site manager, who has worked with Lib for six years, said: “She’s our work mum. She really looks after us all.

“Lib has always been there for everybody - the good times and bad, the ups and downs.

"And that’s at home as well - she's always checking in on everybody to make sure they are alright.

Elizabeth Welcher retires after 36-and-a-half-years of working at Doddington Medical Surgery.

Elizabeth Welcher (centre) retires after 36-and-a-half-years of working at Doddington Medical Surgery. - Credit: BEN JOLLEY

“There will be a lot of patients that will miss her; very often when they come in they would say ‘hi, how are you?’ 

“It’s going to be a massive hole that she is leaving behind." 

Lib added: “Working here has been such a big part of my life but I’m 75 now and it’s time. 

"I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. It’s had its ups and downs like every job does, but I wouldn’t have been here that long had I not enjoyed it."

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