A farewell gathering was just the right medicine for a respected Dunstable GP, as she retired after 34 years with the same practice.
Dr Mary Hawking, 69, has cared for generations of patients at the Kingsbury Court Surgery, in Church Street.
She has also received wide acclaim for her work nationally regarding IT in health care.
That includes tireless campaigning to maintain the integrity and confidentiality of GP and primary care records.
In 2009, she was awarded the John Perry Prize, given for innovation and excellence in UK primary care computing.
The British Computer Society’s primary health care specialist group praised her “energetic efforts” to secure guidelines on the governance, medico-legal and patient safety consequences of Shared Electronic Patient Record systems in primary care.
Dr Hawking, sister of Professor Stephen Hawking, qualified in 1966. Her work included hospital posts overseas before she joined the Dunstable practice in 1979.
She said: “It’s a lovely place to work. The patients are marvellous. Looking after patients is a privilege and it is very satisfying. From my point of view it’s the best job in the world.”
Now she intends to continue her work on professional committees, and to spend more time on her interests.
Dr Nicholas Benedikt, senior partner at the surgery, said: “On many levels, Dr Hawking has been the life and soul of the practice.” He praised her empathy and compassion, her intelligence, and her work regarding IT in medicine.
Dr Benedikt said: “We will all miss her very much, both as a colleague and as a friend.”