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One of Newmarket's longest-serving GPs retires after 39 years in general practice




One of Newmarket’s longest-serving GPs has retired, 39 years after taking up her first post in general practice.

Dr Judy McLaren, who is 66, has said goodbye to her colleagues at the town’s Orchard House surgery, in Fred Archer Way, where she had been a partner helping to build a flourishing practice now serving more than 11,000 patients.

Qualifying in 1977, Dr McLaren was based at London’s Charing Cross Hospital and worked at various hospitals in the capital before coming to Newmarket and initially joined the surgery in Exning Road, which had been converted from a private house.

Dr Judy McLaren (47551808)
Dr Judy McLaren (47551808)

She joined the practice partners Dr Simon Bailey and Dr John Calvert, who have both since retired. The surgery operated from Exning Road until 1984 when it moved to the purpose- built premises it occupies today.

Orchard House itself owed its existence to another change, which began in the mid-1960s, when the introduction of NHS loans to GP partnerships for building projects saw a rapid decline in smaller practices which were replaced with bigger multi-doctor surgeries and health clinics.

This, in turn, saw the practice dealing with a far wider range of treatments, something Dr McLaren could hardly have envisaged when she began her career as a GP. These included cardiology, asthma and diabetes, all of which would previously have been done in hospital out-patient clinics.

Dr McLaren with retirement gifts (47571261)
Dr McLaren with retirement gifts (47571261)

“I loved doing medicine,” she said, “but I decided on general practice because it gave me the opportunity to work with a range of medicine not just on one speciality.”

She said that during her career general practice had become more streamlined but the pandemic had seen testing times for both doctors and staff at the surgery. And there would be more busy times ahead as more patients unable to see their GPs during the lockdown were now requesting consultations.

Dr McLaren and her husband, Duncan, a surveyor, live in Newmarket and have two daughters and a son, who currently lives in Australia and, with his wife, is expecting their first baby in November.

And when travel restrictions allow one of Dr McLaren’s first retirement trips will be Down Under to visit her first grandchild.

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