History of the Practice

The practice was started by Dr Ethel Downing at 6 Old Orchard Road in the mid 1920's with a branch surgery at 236 Seaside. She remained single handed until joined by Dr Hebe Coghill and later by Dr Bridget Gurney in the 1930's.

A practice of 3 female GPs would be fairly unusual today but must have been very rare if not unique in the 1930's!


During the 1939 - 1945 War much of the population of Eastbourne was evacuated, so only Dr Downing continued. Dr Coghill went to Cornwall to do work in Public Health and Dr Gurney joined the RAMC. Because of bomb damage in Old Orchard Road when the Public Library was destroyed the practice continued in Southfields Road.

After 1945 Dr Coghill rejoined the practice but Dr Gurney was forced to retire through ill health.

In 1946 the practice premises moved to the present site at number 1 Arlington Road.

In 1955 Dr Harry Clarke, Dr Downing's nephew, joined the practice and Dr Nancy Lord replaced Dr Coghill on her retirement in about 1960. In 1966 Dr Iain Paterson replaced Dr Downing on her retirement and in 1969 Dr Michael Walter replaced Dr Lord following her marriage.

The branch surgery in Seaside was originally at number 236 in the home of a Mrs Cook. It moved over the road to number 203 Seaside, the home of a Mrs Lower in the early 1960's when Mrs Cook 'retired'. In those days the consulting room was in the back room of the house and patients waited in the front room! With the opening of the Winifred Lee Health Centre in Wartling Road in 1971 the branch surgery at 203 Seaside was closed. We shared the Health Centre with Dr Craib and partners and stayed there until it closed in 1999 when we decided we could operate more efficiently from just one site.

In 1976 Dr Walter became a GP trainer and took the first of our GP trainees (now GP Registrars). Since then we have trained about 70 new GP's with Dr Williams joining Dr Walter as a trainer in 1982 and Dr Deery taking over from Dr Walter in 1990. In 2012 Dr Jones also became a trainer.  Most of the doctors working at the practice trained at the practice!

By 1979 the practice list size had reached 10,300 and the workload was increasing all the time but the space in which to work was very restricted. Dr Peter Williams joined after serving in the Royal Air Force for 5 years and shortly afterwards (in 1981) we were able to buy the first and second floors and expand the surgery upstairs as well as build two new consulting rooms as an extension at the back of the building. Until then Dr Coghill had lived in the residential flat upstairs.

Dr Robert Deery joined the Practice in 1984.  Dr Jane Lofts in 1988 and Dr Debra Davison in 1994.

In 1995 Dr Clarke was forced to retire from full time general practice by the rules brought in by Margaret Thatcher in 1990. He had been with us for 40 years and his positive influence on the practice will be felt for many years to come. Dr Paul Frisby replaced him and took over his patients' care.

Even before Dr Clarke retired we were short of room again and, after considering many other possibilities, in 1997 managed to buy the ground floor flat of number 18 Old Orchard Road (the other half of the semi-detached house that is number 1 Arlington Road) and knocked through to utilise all that space. At the same time we expanded the extension across the back of the two houses and massively increased the ground floor accommodation available.

In 1999 Dr Paterson retired and was replaced by Dr David Higgs and in 2002 Dr Walter retired and was replaced by Dr Ilan Rajap.  Dr Pravin Jain joined us from 2002 to 2005 and we have had a number of Salaried doctors over the years to help us manage the workload.

In 2013 we were able to undretake a further expansion of the premises taking over the other two residential flats next door.  We put in a lift, created more consulting and treatment rooms and created space for our Pharmacy.

Dr Jones joined as us a salaried doctor in 2009 and joined the partnership in 2010. Dr Ahmad joined us in September 2012 as a salaried doctor and joined the partnership in April 2015.  Dr Laure Berthelot-Cabaret joined us in March 2015 as a salaried doctor and joined the Partnership in April 2016.  Dr Ben McFadden completed his training before joining the Partnership in April 2016.  He is going to take over from Dr Rajap as our Dermatology Specialist Doctor.  Dr Rajap left to pursue more Dermatology in  August 2015.

Kieran Cambell, Paramedic Practitioner joined us in May 2017, and Lindsey Thorpe in July 2018.  Their knowledge and expertise are a great asset to the Practice, especially with the management of our high elderly and frail population.

Dr Lofts retires at the end of June 2018 after 30 years of dedicated service.

 We currently have around 11,900 patients.