Rustington GP retires: Dr Shlosberg says he 'wouldn't have changed his career for the world'

A popular GP in Rustington who will be retiring at the end of June said he would not have changed his career for the world.

After 24 years of caring for the community at The Lawns Surgery, Dr Charles Shlosberg will be retiring at the end of June, when the Glenville Road practice will close.

Dr Charles Shlosberg, 65, at The Lawns Surgery in Glenville Road, Rustington. Picture: Derek Martin

Dr Charles Shlosberg, 65, at The Lawns Surgery in Glenville Road, Rustington. Picture: Derek Martin

Speaking to the Littlehampton Gazette, the 65-year-old reflected on his career and thanked his patients for their support over the decades.

He said: "Seeing my patients is the best part of the job. Yes it is very busy, but you see the same faces again and again; I have 2,800 patients and I could probably recognise 2,000 of them.

"But the sad side to this is that I have to say farewell to each and every one of them."

Charles said he wanted to be a GP since he was a child, following in the footsteps of his father who passed away when he was nine.

After spending some time living in Manchester, he studied at the University of Oxford before training at King's College Hospital in London and qualifying as a doctor in 1978.

Charles moved back to Manchester to work in hospital medicine before becoming a GP in 1987. He worked in the Cotswolds for eight years before moving down to Littlehampton in 1995 to take a job at what was the East Street Medical Group in the town centre.

Jobs at The Park Surgery and Littlehampton Hospital followed, before moving to Zachary Merton Hospital in 2004 where he formed The Lawns Surgery.

According to Charles, it was a three horse race for the practice's name: the other contenders were The Sir Alex Ferguson Surgery or The Shack at Zach.

While he has had some colourful patients over the years, one stuck in his mind. Charles said: "He was a very generous man who told me he was a fortune teller. He gave me a gift which has proven to be the most valuable medical tool I got since qualifying, which I keep in my drawer: a crystal ball.

"The lesson is: we doctors are no better at telling the future than patients are."

A highlight of his career was winning the Health Hero award at the Gazette's Community Stars awards in 2012.

The father-of-two said he looked forward to a 'happy retirement' with his wife Emma Tilley - a doctor at Westcourt Medical Centre in The Street, Rustington, which will be merging with Fitzalan Medical Group and The Park Surgery later in the year.

He said the biggest changes he had noticed over his career was looking after an ageing population with increasingly difficult health needs. He said: "I see patients now with a serious disease 20 or 30 times, whereas in the past it would have been two or three times.

"Old age used to be 65; now I tell patients that 75 to 80 is the peak of middle age."

He said he urged the local NHS to 'give patients the opportunity to be seen by the same doctor' and to 'listen to the patient voice groups'.

As one of the last 'single-handed' GPs running a surgery by themselves, Charles said it was time to 'take up my place alongside the dodo in the Natural History Museum'.

"It has been hard work, but very enjoyable and I wouldn't have changed it for the world", he said.