Dr Alison Gazard retires after 52 years

RETIRMENT: Dr Alison Gazard will be retiring after 52 years in medicine at the end of the month. PHOTO: Elisabeth Champion
RETIRMENT: Dr Alison Gazard will be retiring after 52 years in medicine at the end of the month. PHOTO: Elisabeth Champion

Well-known Naracoorte doctor Alison Gazard will be hanging up her stethoscope at the end of the month after a 52-year career in medicine.

Dr Gazard currently sees patients at her clinic on Smith Street in Naracoorte, and her last day will be Thursday, September 30.

With a career spanning more than five decades, she has seen huge changes in medical practice, but described herself as old-fashioned.

"We are a bit unusual - we are a paper-based practice," she said.

"I handwrite all my prescriptions, it's a bit different. I tried to go to computers once, but I think the timing was all wrong."

Many in the South East know Dr Gazard as the 'Queen of Q Fever' due to her years of work testing for and vaccinating against the virus.

"I have been involved with Q Fever since the 1980s, not only testing and vaccinating people but also training other doctors how to do it, because it can be complicated because you have to give them a test first to make sure they haven't had Q Fever," she said.

"Q fever has given me a lot of fun - in 2001, the Government decided to fund vaccinations for shearers and meatworkers but trying to get shearers in for vaccinations was difficult.

"I tried through the union, but that didn't work, so we thought 'right, where do shearers go' and thought pubs.

"So we went to all the pubs in the South-East - after work we'd go down and set up shop and they'd come in to have their test or shot. We got thousands of them that way. Some of them had to have some drinks before they'd get it because they were needle-shy."

She also travelled to outback Australia to assist with the Q Fever vaccination program.

She said that while she will miss her patients, the time had come to retire.

"I have been thinking about retiring for the last few years," she said.

"Everyone is probably going 'well you said that last year' but this time I've done it, I have reached a point where it is time to go. I have heard it said that you'll know when the time comes and I do know."

Dr Gazard looks forward to spending more time in her garden, cooking, some travel and spending time with her family.