RETIRING: Dr Paul Walsh is retiring after many years serving the Evans Head community.
RETIRING: Dr Paul Walsh is retiring after many years serving the Evans Head community. Marc Stapelberg

Much loved GP farewells his 'dream job'

AFTER 35 years caring for the Evans Head community GP Paul Walsh will hang up his stethoscope for good next week.

It was a hard call, but Dr Walsh, who lives in Lennox Head said he was satisfied his career serving locals and visiting tourists at the Evans Head Medical Centre had left him fulfilled.

"It's been fabulous working here over the last 35 years," Dr Evans said.

"I have loved practising medicine, it's what I do and where better a place to practice. Most people come to the North Coast for the lifestyle ... It's been wonderful."

Dr Walsh said the most rewarding thing about his role was providing health care to three generations of patients local to the sea-side village.

"I get to see grandparents, parents and children," he said.

"The enjoyable thing about general practice is the continuity in seeing those generations progress and develop."

Dr Walsh said over the years he began to specialise in skin cancer medicine.

"Because of the sun and the climate skin cancer has become a bit of an issue - that's become a speciality of mine in the practice," he said.

"It's been very rewarding."

Although some of his long-term patients were "quite devastated" to hear of his retirement Dr Walsh said it was "just time to move on."

"It's time to enjoy retirement, spend more time with the family, and do some more travelling," he said.

"We have family down in Sydney and down the south coast and my son lives in Hawaii, so it will be great to be able to visit more often.

"I am also a keen fisherman so it will be great to get out on the water more."

After trying his hand at Marine Biology at university, Dr Walsh soon became interested in medicine and after six years of study he graduated from the University of NSW in 1980. He then spent three years working in the hospital system, before moving to Evans Head in 1983 and into his "dream job."

"I moved to Lennox head about 18 years ago, and I will stay there," he said.

Of the many changes Dr Walsh has witnessed throughout his career, the evolution of the practice and the town has been the most significant.

"My partner Dr Paul Watterston has been here for about 30 years - over that time it's grown from a two man practice to a six man practice," he said.

"We now have female doctors working here, which

"When I was doing medicine it was about a 70 to 30 male to female ratio and it's certainly more equal now. There's a lot more women doing medicine these days."

Dr Walsh recalled Evans Head not having any paramedics when he first arrived.

"Now we have two paramedics per ambulance," he said.

"When you are isolated like this and close to the highway,with an older population - that was a big change and improvement for us."