Passing the Baton


After 24 years at The Hadleigh Practice, Dr Mark Bridgman retired last month. His energy, enthusiasm and ‘can do’ attitude will be sorely missed.

Dr Bridgman leaves behind a legacy to be proud of, having mentored a number of the GPs practicing locally today. I was one of his trainees in 2015, and whilst I lack the antipodean inclination to ‘speak before you think’ that occasionally landed him on ‘the naughty step’, I will now be taking on both Dr Bridgman’s old consulting room and his regular slot here. We have in common a belief that community matters, and I hope that my contributions will reflect that.

For me, this sadly hasn’t been the only baton passed recently. My Dad died at the end of January. Despite being a certainty, the death of a loved one remains an immensely painful experience. As a GP, I have had more exposure to this certainty than most, so have been caught out by how unprepared I felt for it. 

The traditional medical model of grief views this as having five stages; Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. These stages are not necessarily navigated in linear fashion, but can be helpful for understanding the mess of emotions that accompanies a close bereavement. There are, however, many ways to experience grief, many models to understand it, and every grief journey will be different; there is no right or wrong way to grieve.

The concept of ‘growing around your grief’ has gained traction in recent years. Speaking to others who have experience in supporting the bereaved, or to those who have been through a similar experience themselves, is invariably helpful. Charities such as Cruse Bereavement Support provide a wealth of information and ‘Social Prescribers’, located within GP surgeries, can put you in contact with local support.

We will all lose people precious to us. When it does happen, reach out and accept comfort from the shared experience in your community.

So, Hasta La Vista Dr Bridgman. And goodbye Dad.

Dr Chris Humphrey

Published: Apr 4, 2024