A PRACTICE nurse and partner at Premier Health Team GP Practice in Leigh has retired after 47 years of service to patients.

Delia Clarke trained to be a nurse from the age of 18 and spent several years working on the hospital ward before finding her true calling: practice nursing.

She became a practice nurse before it was really a nursing career. By working on cardiac wards with very sick people, Delia discovered that she was passionate about promoting healthy living and reducing the number of people having heart attacks.

Committed to education, Delia has dedicated time to developing support for other practice nurses and has travelled around the country delivering training

She set up a practice nurse forum in the Wigan borough so that colleagues could all support and mentor one another and really transform the serviced they delivered.

Delia was also only the second nurse in the country to become a partner in a GP practice and take on a GP service contract. 

With mixed emotions about her retirement, Delia plans to spend more time sewing, dressmaking, working on her allotment and spending lots of socially distanced time with her family.

Delia said: “I have very mixed emotions about retiring. I am excited for the new chapter, but it has been an awful long time: 50 years in employment, 47 in nursing and 29 years as a practice nurse.

“Being a nurse is ‘me’, it’s who I am, so it will be interesting to define myself as a retired person. I will miss my patients and staff and my lovely team, but now is as good a time as any to make the step and have a change and I am ready to embrace it.”

Dr Tim Dalton, local GP and chair of NHS Wigan Borough CCG, added: “I have worked with Delia for many years and have loved every moment of it. She has brought passion and joy to practice nurses and has been an inspiration to me and many other GPs and Practice Nurses.

"She has always pushed the boundaries of what is possible and never let anything stop her from doing the right thing for her patients. 

“She will be missed by me, but also I am sure, by all of her staff and patients at Premier Health Team.

"I would like to thank her for lifetime of service and dedication.”