A well known North Devon GP is retiring after more than 40 years with the NHS.

Children on a trip of a lifetime to Florida with the Children's Holiday Foundation charity, founded by Dr Buckland.Children on a trip of a lifetime to Florida with the Children's Holiday Foundation charity, founded by Dr Buckland.

Dr Robin Buckland MBE will step down as a partner at Northam Surgery on Friday, January 31 after 31 years with the practice.

But he will continue his work carrying out vasectomies at the surgery, as well as working as an appraiser of other GP practices, as well as remaining an on-call rota doctor for Children's Hospice South West.

His will also continue his work with the Children's Holiday Foundation, the charity he set up in 1993 to take children affected by illness or disability on a holiday of a lifetime to Florida.

Dr Buckland, aged 65, moved to North Devon in 1986 with his wife Linda and they have two sons, James and Michael, and two grandchildren.

Youngsters on a trip of a lifetime to Florida, made possible by the Children's Holiday Foundation.Youngsters on a trip of a lifetime to Florida, made possible by the Children's Holiday Foundation.

He originally trained and worked as s surgeon in London and the Midlands, but said he was working 100 hours a week and not seeing enough of his family, so they moved to Northam and he retrained as a GP.

He said: "I feel very privileged to have lived and worked in such a beautiful place and hopefully will be able to spend the rest of my life here.

"Northam Surgery has grown in size and quality over the last 30 years and it thoroughly deserves its 'outstanding' CQC award.

"Northam Surgery has a very patient-centred ethos and we have always tried to provide high quality care for our patients, We are a happy team who work together and they are all committed to try and cope with whatever the future health needs are."

When he arrived at Northam, Dr Buckland said the patients registered numbered 7,000 and that has now grown to 13,000.

His innovations included setting up a local vasectomy service at Northam in 1991 that made national headlines at the time. It is now also carried out in Bideford.

Dr Buckland said the biggest problem facing the NHS was recruitment, both locally and nationally.

He said: "In the last year the government has made significant changes which will aid recruitment in the longer term but not in the short term. I think we need to be mindful about the number of new homes being built in our area without ensuring that the infrastructure can cope with the extra volume of people."

As well as continuing his other work and voluntary roles, Dr Buckland hopes to enjoy North Devon's beautiful setting with his family, plus perhaps a little more golf, some walking and time spent on his beloved garden.

He added: "I have been a very lucky man. I have been blessed with my family, my friends and work. You get out of life what you put in and I have been very well rewarded."