A RESPECTED Wrexham doctor is to take on a reduced role at the practice he founded more than 30 years ago.

Dr Peter Saul will cease to be a partner at Beech Avenue Practice in Rhos later this month, and will end his final full week in the role at the end of this week.

Sharing some of his memories from the last three decades, Dr Saul said: "I set the practice up in 1988. Initially we were based in a porta cabin and we had 100 patients.

"Since then we have grown to 6,000 patients and four doctors, teaching medical students and GPs in training. "It was really hard at first. There were an enormous amount of hours and for several years I was working on my own, on call, every day.

"I owe the success of the practice to the wonderful staff I have been working with; the other doctors, nurses and administrative staff.

"The practice is like a family - with my colleagues and patients. We all look after each other."

Speaking of some of the changes which have come about since he started the practice, Dr Saul said: "We have much better IT than we used to have - it has really transformed the way we look after patients.

"I think in general people are, in some respects, healthier than when I started. "Smoking has gone down, but we have seen an increase in the number of people with weight problems. "One of the biggest changes is how people age. "When I first started, you'd see people in their 60s and 70s and they were really quite old then. "But now we have so many healthy 60s and 70s who you would not put in the category 'old.'

"The treatment of heart conditions has been revolutionised. People are treated much more aggressively now and up to some considerable age. "I am seeing more people with Alzheimer's Disease than before and that's partly because people are living longer, but that brings its own problems."

Dr Saul, who has also contributed countless articles to the Leader since 1990, said one of the things which has kept him going over the years is the knowledge that he is helping local people.

"An interesting thing is seeing families," he said. "I usually start seeing the children of families that come to the practice. Then they have children and they come here too. "It has reached the stage where I am now seeing the children of their children, so it is like putting together a jigsaw. It helps you to understand that family that little bit better.

"My patients have kept me going through difficult times. "The gratitude they show is so important. It's the icing on the cake."

Looking ahead to the future of his profession, he said: "Over the last few years we have seen a falling number of young doctors, but that's changing.

"We have seen an increase in popularity and I hope that continues. "We're at a crossroads now and it will be interesting to see how things develop, post-covid, and how much phone and video consultations continue.

"For me, I will be employed to do some sessions in a reduced role at the practice. "If I was to walk away completely I'd be losing my family."

Elizabeth Berry, assistant practice manager, said: "Dr Saul has been in a prominent role at the practice for more than 30 years. "He is very well respected by patients in the community and he's a wonderful man to work with, and for. "He will be coming back to give us a hand from time to time on a retainer, so we won't be losing touch with him."