Story: Laura Moya
Dr Hopwood retired from Burngreave Surgery in November after more than 30 years as a GP. We met up to discuss his working life serving the Burngreave community and his plans for retirement.
When did you start as a Doctor at Burngreave Surgery?
I’ve been there for 34 years. When I first started, there was one receptionist called Mrs Buxton, who is 96 now and doing well. A lot of patients would remember her.
How did you come to be in Burngreave – where were you before?
I worked at the Northern General at first and then in Nether Edge but didn’t like either of them. So I took an opportunity to work in Libya for a year. It was well paid but I was glad to come back. It gave me a very interesting insight though – nowadays a lot of my patients speak Arabic and I had to speak a bit of Arabic in those days.
What has it been like working in Burngreave?
Well, it’s more challenging. It’s one of the most deprived areas in South Yorkshire so it’s never easy. And it’s very difficult to deal with medical and social problems as the two are very closely intertwined. So if a family is struggling financially – which a lot of people are – you can’t really expect them to be able to take the same care of their health as other people who have got more resources.
What do you think about the health issues that face residents in Burngreave?
They get a raw deal, basically. They don’t get as much money spent on them as they do in places like Dore – and that’s historical: in the old days people who used to speak loudest got the most money.
How did it feel to be retiring after such a long time in the area?
It was good for me to retire. I was sad to lose the families – there are a lot of families that I’ve known four or five generations of. It’s really nice to see children grow up and then see them have babies themselves!
Do you have any plans for your retirement?
I’ll be learning how to use a camera. I also really enjoy computers – putting them together and taking them apart. I read, walk and my son has bought me some golf lessons. We’re going to travel quite a bit – my daughter is a GP in Canada so we’ll be going there.
Is there anything you would like to say to residents?
Thank you for making my life easy and enjoyable. It’s been a privilege!