Macfie has plenty of plans for retirement

RESTING: Dr Andy Macfie hopes to spend more time on his farmlet.
RESTING: Dr Andy Macfie hopes to spend more time on his farmlet.

Neurologist Andy Macfie has packed away his stethoscope for the last time in the south.

After a career dedicated to helping Southlanders part of his retirement plan he says includes becoming an intensive quality controller at the Vulcan Hotel at St Bathans, in Central Otago.

Dr Macfie has been a driving force in establishing neurophysiology service in Southland.

He was first funded by the Southland Medical Foundation to provide a Southland neurophysiology service in 1983.

Southlanders at the time commuted to Dunedin for any neurology services but with Macfie firmly implanted in the community the opportunity to launch a local service became a reality.

In 1984 the foundation bought specialised equipment to help Macfie launch a public neurophysiology service.

"Without exaggeration that service has saved patients millions - they don't have to take time off work, or travel for hours in the car ..." Macfie said.

"It was an important breakthrough for me."

As the service expanded, Macfie said the then "enlightened" health board realised it needed to invest in a CT scanner.

"Being a sole practitioner was difficult at times; when we got that

CT scanner it certainly helped me get a few extra nights in bed," he said.

Macfie's love of neurology earned him the position of senior lecturer in medicine at Otago University and intern coordinator at Southland Hospital.

He became responsible for shaping the next generations of southern physicians.

"I am sad to go in one way, but it is time for new blood," he said.

Southland will now rely on five Dunedin-based neurologists to provide a local service.

"We really need to be more aligned to all services involved in [neuro-medicine], which the team in Dunedin can be described as formidable for."

Two days a week for about 40 weeks a year a neurologist from Dunedin will travel to Invercargill to provide outpatient clinics and inpatient consultations.

Macfie said with the advent of technology this solution would still provide a quality service for Southland.

However, for Macfie retirement brings plans of voluntary work in the Pacific, more time on the farmlet and at his crib in Cambrian.

"It won't all be time away ... I plan to be a regular intensive quality controller at Vulcan Hotel in St Bathans."

The Southland Times