A well-known doctor is to bid farewell to his practice after 33 years.
Dr Roger Elias is a familiar face to patients at the Sea Road and Pebsham surgeries.
Dr Elias did his medical training at Kings College Hospital in London before moving to Hastings in 1980, where he trained as a GP. He was later given a job at the Sea Road Surgery, working with Dr Hunter and Dr Schofield.
He said: “There was just the three of us in those days.
“It was a very small surgery with cramped facilities.”
But in the past 33 years, Sea Road has increased in size, with seven doctors now looking after 9,000 patients, up from 6,000 in the early 1980s. By now the senior partner, Dr Elias oversaw the opening of the Pebsham surgery in 2002.
Dr Elias also served on the Hastings Health Authority and Hastings and Rother Primary Care Group and Primary Care Trust.
He was chairman of the Hastings and Rother Clinical Commissioning Group from April 2013 until March 2016.
It was during this period he oversaw the consolidation of the DGH and Conquest stroke units onto the Eastbourne site – a move which Dr Elias says has improved recovery times for stroke victims.
He said: “I know it was met with quite a bit of resistance, having been at two sites, but neither of those sites were performing well. Consolidating means a much better service for patients who have had strokes.”
Dr Elias is also proud of the work the CCG has done in developing an improved service for patients with emphysema and raising awareness of people with learning difficulties.
Although Dr Elias will retire on September 30, he will continue to carry out annual check ups for patients with learning difficulties.
Dr Elias said: “I will miss very much the contact with people and patients. I will miss them immensely. It has been an honour and privilege to serve my patients. I will miss the staff and I will miss my colleagues both here and in other practices.”
Dr Elias, who sings with St Peter’s Church choir, plans to hone his piano playing during his retirement.
Dr Raj Sharma, from the practice, said of Dr Elias: “He has been a great GP to many, many patients over his 33 years. He is very supportive, first and foremost – and most importantly – to patients, but also a very supportive employer for all the staff here.
“He will be greatly missed.”
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