A dedicated and much-loved doctor is set to retire after a career spanning nearly 50 years.

Dr Ramesh Chandra Rautray began working in Blackburn at the old Larkhill Health Centre in 1986.

He would later move on the Primrose Bank Medical Centre nearby alongside his wife Reena who is also a doctor. The couple worked together at Primrose Bank until Reena retired.

Dr Rautray, 79, has now decided it is a good time to retire and he will spend more time travelling.

Having visited a staggering 69 countries so far in his life, he was keen to add to that number in the coming years.

Dr Rautray was born and brought up in Cuttack, in the state of Odisha (formerly Orissa) in the east coast of India close to Bay of Bengal.

He came to the UK in January 1975 after his postgraduate studies and five years of teaching in the same medical school he had graduated from.

He began working in Newcastle before also taking up roles in Sunderland, Birmingham and then onto Leicester Medical school.

He also worked in Glasgow before completing his training in Liverpool, and in the mid-1980s began working at Blackburn's Larkhill Health Centre in the shadow of the town’s famous Larkhill flats.

Primrose Bank Medical Centre, where he spent the rest of his career alongside his wife, is within the same area and based opposite the newly developed Bowland House.

He will retire on Friday, May 19, after nearly 37 years working in Blackburn.

He said: “I have seen many families and generations come through.

“I think that family contact is going now in some respects now. A lot of people who may move to the area do not even know the name of their doctor. I think having a community GP is so important.

“You are then familiar with the person and the family background and it does help a great deal.”

He said he has always done his best to make sure people got an appointment in his practice when they needed one.

“Even through Covid it was important to have face-to-face appointments with patients," he said, "and people were grateful we could do that.

“A lot of the older generation know me well and they wanted to see me.

“I do feel that personal touch is going.”

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Dr Ramesh Rautray with wife Dr Reena Rautray pictured in 1969 and with Deepak 

He studied in India and remembers growing up in the 1950s in the bustling eastern state in India.

“My parents took good care of me and gave me all the opportunities he could. My father was a very charitable man and also established a school and college in the area for the education of local children.

"He was keen to encourage pooer children into higher education.”

When he arrived in Newcastle-upon-Tyne - worlds away from eastern India - for the first time, he was advised it would be ‘cold’ but recollects being given some good advice from a local consultant at the time.

“I have to say people were very welcoming on my first role and they would look out for me.”

His career path merged and progressed almost in tandem alongside that of his wife Dr Reena.

The couple’s sons Sundeep and Deepak would also go on to become medical professionals. Dr Sundeep Ray also works at Primrose Bank Medical Centre.

Dr Rautray said: “We were happy for the boys to go into medicine but we did not push them. It was something they wanted to do themselves.” 

Dr Rautray said he always found time to go travelling, visiting 69 countries including the Far East and South and Central America so far, with plans to add to that list once he becomes a retiree.

He said: “I do a lot of reading but I do also enjoy travelling.

“I just loved to meet different people from different cultures. All the countries are good in their own way.”

Asian Image:

Dr Rautray began working in Blackburn  in 1986.

He does still encourage students to go into his profession despite the challenges, a motivation which has inspired to help teach the next generation of doctors at the School of Medical Sciences at University of Manchester.

He added: “We need doctors. We need them across our communities. I would wish to encourage more people to study to go into the profession.

“I still like to see more people studying to be doctors and it is something I have always been passionate about.”