A HUSBAND and wife team who have been at the heart of maternity services at the Ulster Hospital have retired.

Husband and wife medical duo, Dr Ralph Roberts and Dr Penny Hill, were given a warm send off by friends and colleagues last week.

The couple were both obstetrics and gynaecological consultants for the maternity unit. Dr Roberts joined almost 30 years ago in 1995, with his wife, Dr Hill following nearly a decade later in 2004.  

Dr Roberts has reflects on the changes he has seen during his tenure as a maternity consultant.  

“I was appointed in 1995 and took up post in August 1996 and I am sad to be leaving,” Dr Roberts said.  

“Whenever I came on board, I increased the number of obstetrics and gynaecological consultants from two to three and now there are 20.  

“I’ve seen a lot of change in that time. I have always been right in the thick of the hospital, it’s a member of my family, that’s how I feel about it.”  

Best known for her recent work in her field in South Sudan, Dr Hill states she will miss the camaraderie on the wards as she moves on to a ‘new chapter’ in her life. 

“I will miss the friendships that I’ve made and the great times that I have had.  

“I have enjoyed my work and I’m ready to move into a new chapter. It was so lovely to see so many people at our final day,” adds Dr Hill.  

With an atmosphere of mixed emotions at their going-away gathering, obstetrician and gynaecologist, Caroline Bryson says the couple will be sorely missed on the maternity wards.  

“We have got obviously mixed emotions today with two of our senior consultants leaving at the same time,” said Dr Bryson.  

“They have been a great husband and wife combination and have contributed significantly to obstetrics and gynaecology not just within the South Eastern Trust but across Northern Ireland and wider afield.  

“Most recently Dr Hill has been to South Sudan lending her expertise in areas which are much less fortunate than we are here. 

“They will be greatly missed as senior members of the team and we wish them all the very best for the future and the next stage of their retirement,” the consultant concludes.