Tributes paid to GP who dedicated 36 years to Sid Valley patients
- Credit: Archant
One of Sidmouth’s best known GPs, Dr Mike Slot, has retired from general practice in the town.
He reflected on his career and said: “I have never regretted being a GP. I have loved it.”
After dedicating himself to the care and wellbeing of people in the town and Sid Valley for 36 years, he told the Herald this week: “I would like to say what a privilege it has been to be able to be their doctor for this length of time.
“Many of them I can remember from the day they were born –when they had babies’ problems, then as young teenagers coping with spots and some of them when I helped them through their pregnancies.
“I have seen them grow up. Trust builds between you and a patient when you know them for a long time.
“When bad things happen it hurts that much more because you know them better.
“People have let me into their hearts and lives and trusted me to feel able to tell me special things.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to be their GP.”
Dr Slot said he would recommend general practice to any young doctor.
“Make no mistake, there are bad days and you can feel cross and upset. You can make mistakes and they live with you – but that goes with anything that is worth doing.”
He added: “But when you have long relationships with people and they have come to trust you, they accept you don’t always get everything right.”
Dr Slot, who is 64, said that the doctor figure in years gone by may have been “remote” – but “that is not what being a doctor is all about today”.
“I thought about being a paediatrician when I was a young doctor but I have never regretted being a GP. I have loved it.”
He paid tribute to his GP partners and his team of receptionists, call-takers and nurses.
He said: “They have given me huge support in good times and in bad times. It has been a warm, affectionate and supportive relationship.”
Dr Slot trained in Bristol and worked there – and in Exeter – for six months. Then he moved to Leicester and worked there for three years in a number of hospital jobs to prepare him for general practice.
On October 1, 1984 he started work as a GP in Sidmouth.
He explained: “I remember feeling lucky to be taking over from a very able doctor – Dr Dick Michelmore – and inheriting a list of patients who had been well looked after. I worked with him for four months and learned a lot from him.”
The usual retirement age for a GP is 60 but Dr Slot admitted he “didn’t want to stop”.
But he conceded: “More recently I have been finding the increase in phone consultations more difficult. I have always preferred face to face and I feel less able at phone and remote medicine.
“But we can see more people per day with phone consultations and this not likely to change. Those efficiencies are not going to be lost.”
He added: “But that doesn’t work for me personally. I am less efficient and less effective in the new world. But a professional person must be able to see their own limitations.”
Dr Ross Dell said: “Mike Slot has cared for a list of patients in Sid Valley Practice for a remarkable 36 years. As well as being a dedicated GP he has been actively involved in developing services locally including Devon Doctors on Call.
“Mike has always been an enthusiastic and approachable colleague throughout the time I have been lucky enough to work with him in Sidmouth. Mike’s commitment to work is shown by the fact that since his recent retirement from the partnership, he has been actively involved in our ongoing Covid vaccination campaign by booking patients into their appointments.
“We are going to miss Mike as a partner but look forward to seeing him enjoying a truly well-earned retirement.”
Dr Sara Hadfield said: “Mike has been what epitomises the true family doctor over 36 years of practice in the Sid Valley. He has worked through a period of unprecedented change in the NHS, always offering excellent and thorough patient care.
“We shall all, colleagues and patients alike, miss him. He has been an excellent colleague and tireless in his work for the wider medical issues in general practice. I am sorry that Mike won't be there to share the day-to-day ups and downs of practice, but am pleased we shall still see him as he continues to support us with the Covid vaccination campaign along with Bev his wife.”
Although Dr Slott did reveal he would still be working and studying in some form, retirement also beckons – and that should mean “lots of time for my grandchildren”.
He is also an “absolutely passionate” cyclist and enjoys golf too.