Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has said farewell to its 'inspirational' medical director, Mr Robert Talbot, after 28 years' service.

Among his many achievements were developing colorectal services at the Trust and he has also played a vital part in the development of cancer services, having held the post of lead clinician for the Dorset Cancer Network for many years.

Family, friends and colleagues gathered in the hospital boardroom to say goodbye to Robert, who has been at the trust since 1989.

Chief executive Debbie Fleming, said: "Over the years, patients across the whole of Dorset have benefited considerably from Robert’s skill and expertise, and his commitment to improving patient care.

"Robert should be very proud of his achievements over a long and distinguished career, and there is no doubt that he will be sadly missed."

During the celebration tributes and messages of thanks were shared on social media. One message described how Robert was ‘one of a kind’, one described him as a ‘huge inspiration’ while another branded him a ‘real hero’.

Robert joined the hospital as a consultant general and colorectal surgeon and has held the post of medical director for the last nine years.

He said: “I’m so grateful to everyone that came to this event, Poole Hospital is a fabulous place and it’s been a huge privilege to work here.

“I’ve loved my time at the hospital and wouldn’t want to do anything differently - it’s been hard work but so rewarding.”

He was joined at the event by his wife Andrea, daughter Julia and grandson Freddie and intends to use his retirement to travel, and spend more time with his family.

The hospital’s deputy medical director Dr Angus Wood will be taking up the medical director post in the New Year.