Retirement is just what the doctor ordered for North Rocks’ longest serving GPs.
Husband and wife doctors Vasil Tulevski and Lynette McDonald will soon hand over the reigns of Family Medical Practice and had a farewell party last week.
The couple met 50 years ago in London as young interns. Dr Tulevski arrived from Macedonia with a few pounds in his pocket while Dr McDonald was from Brisbane. They married in the UK and worked in the US before they moved their young family to Australia in 1974.
“We came here with the intention of settling in Brisbane, but my husband couldn’t get his medical registration in Queensland but could in NSW,” Dr McDonald recalled. “So we moved to Sydney, where we didn’t know anyone and bought a house in North Rocks.”
Dr Tulevski worked at St Vincent’s Hospital for 12 months before the couple opened their practice in 1975 as one of the first tenants at Westfield North Rocks.
“The M2 didn’t exist in those days and there was nowhere near the number of people who live here now,” Dr McDonald said.
“We’re grateful patients put their faith in us as we wouldn’t exist without their support. We’ve now treating third, even fourth generations of families. We’ve been there for their births and deaths. I branched into treating methadone patients recovering from heroin addiction. One of them has been leading a productive life since I’ve known them.”
Dr Tulevski added: “I’m extremely proud people have entrusted their health in us. I'm happy to leave on my terms as I’ve achieved a great deal in my profession.”
Having six children meant career sacrifices. “We could have gone into consultancy or specialised but decided to go into general practice so we could bring up the children,” Dr Tulevski said.
He will continue working until Dr Jancy George moves to Sydney to take over the practice later this month.
“Dr George has a strong background in aged care, family medicine, obstetrics, gynaecology and mental health,” Dr Tulevski said.
“Our patients will be in good hands as her skills and personable nature place her in an excellent position to continue their care.”
He established the North Rocks Chess Club in 1982 while his wife’s community work centred on her children’s schools, where she was a board member for more than 15 years.
The couple look forward to retirement. “There’s bereavement that after more than 50 years of working, I no longer have somewhere I need to be,” Dr McDonald said.
“We’ve got a few trips lined up, along with some babysitting as we’ve got four preschool aged grandchildren.”
Dr Tulevski had parting advice for patients. “Look after your health, don’t drink or smoke and exercise regularly and you’ll live a long life.”