1926 – 2017
Dr Ashworth came to Rowlands Castle in September 1967 as a general practitioner. Originally, working alone from his own home at 63, Bowes Hill which had a consulting room and a dispensary. He was assisted by a part-time secretary cum dispenser, Mrs Nicholl. There were approximately 700 patients at that time.
He found the work satisfying. He would carry out casualty work himself, such as stitching – chain saw injuries were more common then. He saw maternity work as a basis for the practice, with a long list of patients. Home visiting was more usual but patients were also more self-supporting.
There was a general philosophy that you could not rush anything, which was assisted by a smaller area in which to call.
CHANGES OVER TIME
The practice eventually moved to The Green adjacent to Winnicott’s. Subsequently, he was joined by two partners and a part-time partner. Dr Drew became a partner in 1978. Usually, partners jointly owned the buildings and stock of supplies in the practice, but with financial help from the Government. The Government also oversees the practice.
An expanded pharmaceutical service was introduced although it remained skeletal. There were 4,000 patients when he retired.
He retired from the practice in 1987. He then practiced for two more years in eastern Canada.
PERSONAL BACKGROUND and FAMILY
Dr Ashworth believes he had benefitted from a good training which started in 1950 with study for a degree from Manchester University, followed by five and a half years training to meet the qualifying standards of the General Medical Council. He was awarded formal registration as a General Practitioner in 1955. His initial work was for a practice fifteen miles west of Manchester. Here, the continuing sprawl resulting from development around the City, contributed to heavy winter fogs. His daughter’s health was affected by these fogs and lead his family to move south to protect her health.
His personal interests include classical music of which Hayden was a favourite, for which he was both a pianist and organist. He was involved in music sessions in his home in the Village. He had a lifelong interest in steam engines which were then the main method of traction. Gardening allowed him to keep fit, forced on him by his sedentary profession.
Dr Ashworth has two grown up children – a son and a daughter – and four grandchildren ranging from thirty to twelve years old, who live relatively locally.
Dr Ashworth remembers his own training when common things were hammered in most, so that common diseases would be spotted quickly. For example, diseases, such as appendicitis and tuberculosis or rheumatic fever (the latter two now uncommon) could be quickly diagnosed, and doctors should not make a mistake. Conversely, he only saw one case of lock-jaw, and more recent diseases such as Ebola were much more difficult to diagnose.
He believes there is more demand for good medicine nowadays, regardless of the time available. He is concerned at current working practices and thinks that successive days and nights cannot reasonably be worked together. He believes that Government should take this into account, and should be reconsidered by the National Health Service. He claims there is good medicine practised nowadays, but less time for it.
He mentioned that, organisationally, local medical practices are authorised by the Executive Council of the Local Practice Committee (based in Winchester), a body of professional overseers, not necessarily doctors.
The original interview with Dr Ashworth was conducted by Alan Drinkwater on 6th December 2016. The initial draft was subsequently reviewed and approved by Dr Ashworth.