A DOCTOR has hung up his stethoscope after treating his final patient.
Dr Peter Ehrhardt, 65, of Todmorden, has been a consultant paediatrician in Burnley for more than 20 years.
“One of the delights of the job is that you start with patients who are tiny and move on to patients who are much bigger,” he said.
“It keeps you on your toes because you are dealing with people of different sizes and ages and have to keep adjusting. The kids are just fantastic. A child comes in and does something that you have never seen before. It’s absolutely tremendous.”
After initially working as a teacher, Dr Ehrhardt decided on a change of career path so enrolled at medical school as a mature student.
He graduated in 1978 and got his first consultant job in Dewsbury in 1989 before moving to Burnley in 1991. He also ran outlying clinics in Colne and Todmorden for 15 years.
“It’s good that Calderdale and Huddersfield are spreading their services up here. I’m really pleased that they have this facility (the new Todmorden Health Centre) here now.”
He was also medical director in Burnley and, following a merger with the East Lancs Trust, put himself forward to be the first medical director of the new trust.
There has been much talk recently about reorganisation of services. “In practice, you can only improve services if they are concentrated and the expertise are there,” he said.
“It can mean longer journeys and an inconvenience but if you are going to get quality health service you have got to concentrate them on fewer sites.”
A retirement party was held at Turf Moor, Burnley.
He said: “I got a card from a lady whose child I had treated 18 years ago saying ‘Thank you for everything you did for my child’. It’s nice that there are people around who appreciate you.”
Dr Ehrhardt said he is going to miss his work and would have stayed on longer if possible. “It’s a bit sad but things must change,” he said.
“The list of people to thank starts with the kids and the families. If you can do well by the children that would be a good thing for society generally. I have been very lucky. It’s been a superb job.”
He plans to spend more time fell running during his retirement.
He has also joined the Calder Valley Search and Rescue team and is learning to play chess.