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Unsung hero: Hampton Wick doctor a mentor to his colleagues
An ophthalmologist who has worked at Kingston Hospital for 25 years has been nominated as an unsung hero.
Dr Ian Gillespie, 66, from Hampton Wick, was born into a medical family and began his career in Southampton more than 40 years ago.
He said: “My father was a GP in Putney and my mother was a nurse. It wasn’t inevitable; certainly it did seem attractive.
“At school I was more into science than art, but I didn’t make my mind up until my teens.”
After working in South-ampton he spent several months in Swaziland, southern Africa, with a charity group.
He said: “You are the only eye surgeon in the whole country. Luckily it is a small-ish country and you can pop into a Land Rover and do clinics in other parts of the country.
“It makes you responsible and makes you think on your feet.”
Dr Gillespie said changes in how eye surgery is performed have meant an improvement in patient care, and lightened the burden on hospitals.
He said: “It is much more satisfying doing surgery now than it was before. It is very fiddly, very intricate, but they are out in two or three hours. Some can be driving within a few days.
“It is still exciting even now. There are still options we can take which can change things.
“I teach my colleagues and they teach me as well. In the first instance you have got to learn yourself. Right until you retire you will be going to conferences and reading.”
Dr Gillespie’s colleague Hooman Sherafat said: “I call him Uncle Ian because I was his first officer when I was a trainee.
“I’m grateful to him because when he was my teacher he was supportive. He is one of those people who is just universally loved.
“He is a good clinician, he is very popular and I don’t think I have heard a bad word about him.”