A GP who led Harbours Medical Practice in Cockenzie “through unprecedented change” will retire at the end of this month after 32 years in the job.

Dr Susan Menzies, 59, will leave the practice at the end of March, having been a senior practitioner there since 2014.

Susan, who lives in Edinburgh with solicitor husband Mark, said she made the decision to retire six months ago.

She told the Courier: “The date for me retiring has crept up a lot quicker than I thought when I made the decision.

“It just felt like the right time. I was due to retire next year at 60 so I’m only leaving a little earlier than planned.

“It’s been a tough couple of years through Covid and I have two daughters in London who I’d like to see more.

“I also have an elderly mother who will need care and I want to be there for her.”

Graduating from the University of Aberdeen in 1986, Susan worked as a locum GP at a number of practices before joining Harbours Medical Practice in 1991, first as a full-time locum before becoming a partner in 1992.

During her 32 years at the practice, Susan has seen many changes to how her job works.

She said: “When I began working at Harbours, they were still operating with entirely open surgeries, which were totally packed with patients.

“We had lots of surgeries at the time. We had one in Longniddry, one once a week in Prestonpans and even operated over the summer months doing short morning surgeries in Seton Sands Holiday Park working out of a caravan!

“Nowadays it’s less crowded and a bit more organised.

“So things have definitely changed dramatically over the years and continue to do so with the new refurbished building. I am very pleased to have been able to work in our fantastic extended and refurbished building before retiring.”

A coffee morning with fellow staff is planned for her final day on March 29, and a ceilidh at Cockenzie and Port Seton Old Parish Church Hall, with colleagues will take place after she leaves.

Susan said: “I’m really going to miss all the staff who have been such a huge part of my life over my time here.

“I’m also going to miss so many of my patients. I’ve known some of them right from the start and have watched families grow up during my time here.

“That’s been one of the hardest parts, saying goodbye to patients I have served for years.”

Susan said that she had no big plans for retirement yet but hoped to travel in the future.

She said: “I’ve always loved travelling so we will see what the future holds once my husband retires.”

Susan said a plan had already been put in place for a replacement GP to take over her role but no official announcement had been made.

A spokesperson for Harbours Medical Practice said: “She joined Drs Pollock, Wood, Cameron and Bremer as a partner on January 1, 1992, having previously worked as a locum in the practice.

“Since 2014 she has been our senior partner and led us through a period of unprecedented change, steering us through a global pandemic and extensive building project into our wonderful new premises.

“Somehow, she also managed to be a dedicated mother to her now-grown-up daughters, Emma and Katie.

“She has dedicated 31 years of her life and career to our practice and community, and we are profoundly grateful for her commitment, compassion and leadership.

“From April 1, her car will no longer be the first in the car park!

“We know many of you will want to express your best wishes as she embarks on this exciting new phase of her life and will leave a wooden box for cards at reception.

“Thank you so, so much Susan, and enjoy your adventures to come.”