A VILLAGE GP has written his final prescription after 30 years of looking after his community.
Dr John Coffin has spent three decades at the Stock Surgery, but has finally hung up his stethoscope at the age of 59.
The GP, who lives in Stock with his family, first joined the village practice in 1982, after qualifying at the Royal London Hospital in 1977.
The doctor, who has an interest in palliative care and notes the irony of his name, said he would be sad to leave the Common Road practice after such a long time.
He said: "It has been a wonderful place to be a GP.
"There's something very pleasant about working in a village like Stock.
"You really get a chance to get to know a lot of the people living here, and see parents with children then watch the children growing up."
He added: "I've always liked working in Stock, especially after moving to our new purpose-built surgery.
"This is has been a huge benefit both for the practice and the village.
"It was built with us in mind and gives us a much better facility to help our patients."
Dr Coffin, whose wife Pamela is the priest-in-charge at All Saints' Church in East Hanningfield, said medicine had changed during his career, but had to move with the times.
He said: "Things are always changing in medicine.
"Nowadays, there is a lot more administration involved.
"For me, the best part of the job has always been working with the patients themselves, but now there are so many other tasks you have to do.
"Of course, it's very positive that there are more checks and measures in place, it's certainly for the best for the patient but it does change the nature of the job."
He added: "The range of treatments has also changed.
"In our surgery we do things that would once have been done in hospitals.
"GPs do what doctors there would have done, and nurses end up doing what GPs would have done."
Dr Coffin, who is retiring a year before doctors typically retire, plans to spend more time pursuing his hobby of sailing.
He said: "I don't think you ever really stop feeling like a doctor, but I'll certainly be taking the time to pursue my hobbies, especially sailing.
"I'll also be able to spend more quality time with my children, David and Elisa, and my grandson Jacob."