A LONG-SERVING doctor has hung up his stethoscope for the final time.

Dr Ross Langlands has been a familiar face to people with all sorts of ailments in Haddington and surrounding villages for more than 40 years.

On December 19, he was joined by colleagues at the town’s Lammermuir Medical Practice for a special lunch to mark his retirement.

He said: “I’m quite ambivalent.

“It has been quite hard to say cheerio to folk that I have looked after for a long time.

“I have had lots of cards and presents as well.

“It has really been quite nice but quite sad in some ways.”

Dr Langlands previously worked in Bangour Village Hospital, West Lothian, as well as in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and the Royal Northern Infirmary in Inverness, but it is Haddington that he has called home.

He said there had been plenty of changes since he started working as a GP in East Lothian in the late 1970s.

“A fair few people did not have as many telephones in those days, or as many cars,” said Dr Langlands.

“There were many more house calls then and I used to have a sort of rota where I would go out to Garvald on a Tuesday.

“Somebody would be waiting at the edge of the village to flag me down and tell me who I needed to see; it was quite quaint.”

Dr Langlands, who has four children – Alasdair, Niall, Caitlin and Angus – was initially based on Haddington’s Church Street with one other doctor.

The small building had two rooms – a waiting room-cum-secretary’s room and a consultant room.

That all changed in 1985 when the medical centre was moved to Newton Port, with the building extended to cope with an increasing population.

Now, the medical centre is home to more than a dozen doctors, as well as nursing staff, with Tyne, Lammermuir and Orchard practices all under one roof.

Dr Langlands highlighted how medicine had changed over the decades – in years gone by he did home deliveries and ulcers were treated with surgery rather than medication.

However, the 71-year-old is not planning to simply sit with his feet up at home in Haddington, alongside wife Debbie Strachan, who is a GP at Whitesands Medical Practice in Dunbar.

He said: “I think I feel like I would like some time for myself while I am still reasonably fit and able to pursue my wider interests.

“I did an Open University degree about 20 years ago and have kept up to date with geology.

“I plan to go on field trips and I enjoy gardening and cycling.

“I signed up for a couple of short courses and will be studying Spanish, English literature and politics.

“I will not be wearying, I don’t think.

“Also, my wife has got a long list of things to do.”

Stephanie Currie, practice manager at Lammermuir Medical Practice, described Dr Langlands’ last day as “an emotional occasion” and that he would be “greatly missed, definitely”. She said: “He had lots of gifts from patients handed in over the desk and gifts from staff and doctors at all the practices.”