A healthy crowd says farewell to its doctor

Retired GP Dr Leszek Blazewicz, front left, greets ex-nurse and patient Edna Ashwell, 80, at his tea party. Picture: OX54143 Ric Mellis

Retired GP Dr Leszek Blazewicz, front left, greets ex-nurse and patient Edna Ashwell, 80, at his tea party. Picture: OX54143 Ric Mellis Buy this photo

First published in Abingdon Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Health reporter, also covering Kidlington. Call me on 01865 425271

MORE than 150 patients queued to thank a “wonderful” GP who retired after never taking a day off sick in 37 years.

They streamed down the drive of a former surgery in Wootton, near Abingdon, to thank Dr Leszek ‘Les’ Blazewicz, 65.

The Boars Hill doctor retired in January after a career serving Botley Medical Centre and Wootton. The family doctor said he was “overwhelmed” by the response.

Wootton patient Cathy French, 60, said: “The number of people in there shows the depth of feeling. “Two or three times I have been to see him and you think that would be it.

“Then there would be a tap at the door and he would pop in to see if you were better.”

Betty French, 83, said: “I have known him for 37 years and I have never heard anyone say a bad word about him.

“He was always so kind and patient. He is a lovely man.”

Judy Putt, 68, said the “absolutely wonderful” doctor helped her through breast cancer treatment 20 years ago.

She said: “He is a friend as well as a doctor.”

Botley’s Edna Ashwell, 80, said: “He was always willing to go the extra mile. He was a wonderful GP.”

Wootton’s Joy Barson, 58, said he was “very supportive” when she lost her mother and father. She said: “He is the most wonderful GP who has walked this earth. When they made him they broke the mould.

“I don’t think there has ever been a doctor so popular.”

Co-organiser Avryl French, whose son Jamie was delivered by the GP in 1980, said: “He is a really good family doctor and friend and we just felt that everybody misses him so much that he deserved a tea party to say thank-you and goodbye.”

Dr Blazewicz worked at the Besselsleigh Road surgery – now a private house – from 1977 to 1982. It is now in another premises in the road.

Related links

He said: “I am totally overwhelmed and very humbled. I hadn’t appreciated the level of support I am receiving from the population.

“They are like family to me.”

He said of his sick record: “I worked with fevers and I worked when I felt unwell. I am probably just fortunate to have good health.”

He said he felt pressured to retire when he turned 65 in January and is now working one day a week as a locum.

The father-of-three said: “My approach is humble and that seems to strike a chord with my whole range of patients.”

But the doctor, who came to Oxford from Cambridge to study, said: “The modern doctor is supposed to be a businessman. You ask yourself ‘why do they do medicine?’

“They look to deal with everything other than the patient.”

HOW the NHS has changed since Dr Blazewicz began work in 1975:

  • 1978 – Louise Brown, the world’s first test tube baby, is born.
  • 1990 – the NHS and Community Care Act passes into law, introducing an “internal market” into the NHS in a bid to drive up standards through competition.
  • 1998 – the NHS Direct health advice telephone service is launched in an attempt to the take pressure off NHS services.
  • 2000 – Primary Care Trust (PCT) health authorities are launched.
  • 2004 – a new GP contract is introduced in a bid to link pay to performance more.
  • 2006 – patients are told they can choose up to five hospitals for treatment instead of their GP.
  • 2010 – the coalition Government announces PCTs will be replaced by groups of GPs who will decide where NHS cash is spent by 2013.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree