Dr John Mitchell is retiring this week after being a doctor in Gladstone for more than 40 years.
Dr John Mitchell is retiring this week after being a doctor in Gladstone for more than 40 years. Brenda Strong

Gladstone doctor retires after 40 years in town

THOUSANDS of Gladstone patients would have visited Dr John Mitchell during his time practicing here for more than 40 years.

But now he will hang up the stethoscope for good and enter a new role - retirement.

A doctoral government fellowship brought him to Gladstone in the 1970s, but he never expected to stay as long as he did.

Since then he has delivered hundreds of babies at the Gladstone Base Hospital, worked at his own practice for 22 years and then for 17 years worked at the Windmill Medical Centre.

But today is the last time Dr Mitchell will see patients at the Nhulundu Health Care centre.

He has worked there for the past three years.

"They're (the staff are) just a very friendly and welcoming group of people and it also gave me an opportunity to learn about cultural awareness," Dr Mitchell said.

"I just like people; I guess that's why I stayed in general practice. You get to know whole families, not just individual people."

A benefit to practicing at one town for as long as he has was getting to know his patients.

"Some of them still come to me and have been for over 45 years; they've followed me from one practice to another," he said.

"They're (my patients) very disappointed but understanding. I am nearly 71."

During his retirement Dr Mitchell will make more time for fishing, reading, sleeping and spending time with his wife Lynda.

The pair will move to Yeppoon to be closer to where Lynda works.

"It's (Gladstone) a good place to be and it's been good to me and a lot of other people; it's a nice little country town," Dr Mitchell said.

"The facilities have improved so much since I first moved here; families don't lose much living here compared to somewhere like Brisbane."