WITTERINGS MEDICAL CENTRE
Opening Hours Mon-
Cakeham Road, East Wittering, Chichester, W Sussex. PO20 8BH
Dr Graham Watts
I am sure you are already aware that Dr Graham Watts, the Senior Partner, has been part of Witterings Medical Centre for 36 years, and that he has been planning to retire for some time. Well, I’m very sorry to tell you that the day has finally come and he will be leaving Medical Centre on 29 March 2019.
It is, of course, going to be a very sad day for all the medical staff & patients – we will miss him very much. He has shared some of his history and experiences with us in an article below.
But just as an old era passes, a new one commences and I am delighted to tell you that Dr Kieran Tunnicliffe will be taking over as our Senior Partner as from 1 April.
We look forward to a new and exciting era for the Medical Centre.
DR GRAHAM WATTS – A MEDICAL HISTORY
I first came to the Witterings as a junior Doctor in 1983, so I think I can now call myself a local. Since then, I have seen many changes in the way medical services have been provided. The Medical Centre was a small building with 5 or 6 small consulting/treatment rooms and a waiting room. We had 2 extensions built in the 90’s and more recently the large extension funded by the Woodger Trust.
The number of Doctors hasn’t changed dramatically – when I joined there were 5. But there were no other ancillary medical staff; the District Nurses would sometimes come in and help. Now we have 6 Nurses and 3 Health Care Assistants.
The most notable changes have been the advances in medical care. In the 80’s it was usual to treat patients with a heart attack at home. The trip to hospital was deemed to be too dangerous. This was highlighted when I saw a patient who was having a heart attack. I decided he ought to be in hospital. In those days emergency ambulance call outs were not very reliable and it was quicker for patients to find their own way to hospital. I asked “Can you get to St Richard’s? But you MUST NOT drive”. “Yes Dr” he replied. A few hours later I had a phone call from the A&E dept. saying the patient had suffered a cardiac arrest on arrival but fortunately they were able to resuscitate him. They added that he hadn’t driven there, but cycled!!
The management of heart problems has changed dramatically. Looking after patients with severe heart failure was very common, as we had few medications to help. Nowadays we can control so many of the symptoms with medication or by low invasive surgical techniques
Changes in treatment have been enormous. One of the commonest blood pressure pills that we use now was initially deemed to be possibly dangerous, so patients had to be admitted to hospital to introduce them safely. Nowadays we dish them out with no worries.
The introduction of computers has made an enormous improvement to the way we work. We can now easily look up a patient’s history without having to trawl through reams of paper. The initial use was not always appreciated, as was overheard in the waiting room on one occasion. “Well Mum, how did you get on with the Dr?”. “Not very well -
One of the most significant changes has been in the number of hours we work as a GP. When I started, we provided cover 24/7, working all day, 1 night a week and every 5th weekend, but this was luxury compared to the hospital job I had just finished. When changes were introduced to shorter working hours, I think all GP’s cheered and life changed dramatically for us.
Over the years I have come to know many patients and hopefully managed to help some of them. I have seen many sad events and many happy ones. All patients are different but that is what made the job so interesting. We are lucky in the Witterings that the vast majority of our patients are pleasant people. It will be strange to be no longer involved in looking after you all.
One of my favourite sayings to my elderly patients is “What you need is the elixir of youth. I will let you have some when I’ve invented it”.
Well at last I have discovered it – Grandchildren!