After almost 40 years Gladstone GPs Dr John Bird and Dr Lola Kerr are retiring.
After almost 40 years Gladstone GPs Dr John Bird and Dr Lola Kerr are retiring.

End of an era for Gladstone GPs

ONE moment it’s a newborn, the next a 99-year-old patient.

From treating a cold to stitching up cuts, 40 years of medicine for Gladstone’s Drs Lola Kerr and John Bird is coming to an end.

The pair came to Gladstone in 1980 with the intention of opening a clinic for six months on Toolooa St.

Instead they stayed and had three children.

They then went on to open a new clinic at the Windmill Centre in 1992 before opening the GP Superclinic in 2013.

Initially Dr Kerr specialised in obstetrics and Dr Bird in anaesthetics, however, now the work is more “office medicine”.

The couple met in church at Noosa while on holiday.

It was pure coincidence they were at the same medical school.

Dr Kerr said she had a passion for teaching junior doctors.

“Seeing them develop their own skills and grow to be really competent doctors … that’s one of the great privileges,” Dr Kerr said.

They agreed the biggest challenge was not being able to provide medical support to some patients who were experiencing issues with finance, family or life circumstances.

“I think the other challenge in the most recent era is the number of people you see with psychological illnesses … and there’s a lack of services for those people,” Dr Kerr said.

Both agreed it was building long-term relationships with not just patients but entire families that was the best part of the job.

“It’s certainly a highlight,” Dr Bird said.

He said developing and retaining a patient-first culture at the practice was something he was proud of.

“That’s what we’re about. We’re about serving patients,” Dr Bird said.

They agreed sometimes there was an under-appreciation for the skills GPs had in the medical field.

Dr Kerr said they both had to do nine years of study along with ongoing study and training to remain registered.

“What people don’t realise about general practice is how hard it is and how demanding it is,” Dr Bird said.

The role of a GP has changed significantly over time, but Dr Bird said he wouldn’t change a thing about his career.

Although the pair are retiring, their work in medicine won’t end. They’re hoping to do medical mission work but also spend time closer to their grandchildren.

Say goodbye

Patients and members of the community are invited to attend a farewell morning tea on Friday 10.30-11am at the GP SuperClinic

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