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Devon doctor sets off for Mount Everest

By This is Devon  |  Posted: September 01, 2012

Dr Neil Rushton

Dr Neil Rushton

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A family GP from Devon is setting off on a working trip to Mount Everest – just hours after swimming the channel.

Neil Rushton, of Cullompton, will spend three months working for the Himalayan Rescue Association at Pheriche.

He will live with a Nepalese family and work two-days trek below the mountain’s base camp.

The excited 60-year-old said the post would be one of the most amazing times of his life – but he was still looking forward to returning to his day job.

Dr Rushton said: “It will be challenging both personally and professionally.

“Seventy five percent of my time I will be looking after Nepalese people for free and 25% for trekkers who we charge.

“Some will need to go down by helicopter, others by yak with altitude sickness.”

Dr Rushton, who works for College Surgery Partnership, will leaves for Nepal today – hours after swimming the English Channel as part of a six-man team to raise money for the cardiac unit at Bristol Children’s Hospital.

Speaking of the set-up in Nepal, he said: “It’s a different continent and conditions are different so I’ve got no computer, lighting will be poor and I’ve only got electricity for several hours a day and so it’s making do with the equipment you’ve got.

“I’ve got a good radio so I can get in touch with Kathmandu to get help if needed.”

However, despite the difficulties that may lie ahead, Dr Rushton is never one to shy away from a challenge.

In 2009, he took part in a series of challenges for charity that saw him climb a mountain in the Himalayas, cycle from Land’s End to John O’ Groats, walk the West Highland Way and row the River Thames.

And the popular GP, who was part of the medical team at the London Olympic Games, is also studying for a Master’s Degree in remote medicine.

He joked that his latest trek was part of a mid-life crisis.

“I think I should have just bought a BMW motorbike,” he joked.

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