An event that changed our lives

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 14 June 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:1264
  1. Geoffrey Marsh, retired general practitioner, Stockton-on-Tees (,
  2. Patrick Sweeny, retired general practitioner, Burlington Ontario, Canada

    A telephone call during a duty evening in a doctor's sitting room in Stockton-on-Tees in January 1970 was usually a request for a home visit. But this call was from a general practitioner in Ontario inquiring about a six month exchange of practices. Eleven weeks later, we had swapped jobs and, with the support of home based wives, had exchanged cars, children's school places, and pre-booked holidays. Trusted accountants equated the finances. This event gave us a vision of our futures, the ways we wished our practices to progress, and led to lifelong friendship.

    Practising in “renovated” old buildings in Stockton and a converted house in Canada showed that expansion of premises was vital for teamwork, teaching, and research: both practices now have …

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