DR Kieran Moriarty has long led the way nationally and internationally in the care of people suffering from alcohol-related problems.

And next month, the consultant physician and gastroenterologist retires from the Royal Bolton Hospital after a working lifetime spent helping thousands of people gain help and regain self-respect.

His legacy is encapsulated in one phrase: “We never give up on anybody – even if they have given up on themselves.”

Young Kieran Moriarty was the eldest of four children of the local GP in Barnston, Cheshire. “From around the age of eight, I was used to answering the door to people and taking them into the surgery,” he recalled.

He also saw the many hours his father regularly put in but none of this deterred him from wanting to become a doctor. He had a happy childhood, “quite sporty, we played lots of soccer and cricket” and he enjoyed sports at St Ambrose College in Hale Barnes.

All four children had “a strong work ethic.” Two are now surgeons and his sister, Frances, is married to England cricketer Phil Edmunds, has published books and became a TV personality.

Kieran was the first St Ambrose pupil to go to the University of Cambridge; Prince Charles was two years ahead of him in Trinity College. From here, he had a complete culture change when he trained at the London Hospital in Whitechapel.

He qualified in 1975 and went to St Bart’s where he worked with patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and bowel disorders. He left in 1983 to go to the old Hope Hospital in Salford, working for Professor Leslie Turnberg now Lord Turnberg.

Dr Moriarty moved to Bolton in 1990 as consultant physician and gastroenterologist, building the department from scratch. “There was no real Endoscopy Unit then but, with the backing of two hospital managers and clinicians, we eventually set one up,” he explained. In fact, Dr Moriarty is proud that he has always had a good relationship with managers and clinicians.

Although his initial specialism was bowel disorders, Dr Moriarty soon became involved in the field of alcohol-related problems. He felt, though, that care was fragmented. The result was that he worked with Dr Stephen Liversedge to create an integrated alcohol specialist care service and with Dr Wendy Darling to create collaborative liver and psychiatric care.

Dr Moriarty also instigated alcohol specialist care nurses – a groundbreaking innovation which led to a change in UK hospital care for those with alcohol-related illness and which has led the world.

Dr Moriarty’s own medical papers and his commitment to improving care in this specialised field soon led him to be recognised nationally. In 1999, he became British Hospital Doctor of the Year for his work and the country’s then Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, appointed him as his special advisor.

In 2002, he received a CBE for services to medicine, especially gastroenterology. He also became alcohol services lead at the British Society of Gastroenterology and still serves on various national advisory bodies.

While plainly highly influential in all his work, Dr Moriarty has been a very caring professional who has treated everyone, no matter who, as he would have wanted to be treated himself.

He has been the chief medical officer for Salford’s annual pilgrimage of poorly people to Lourdes for 25 years, fundraising to pay for nurses to go with the patients. He has a strong love of Irish music and even made a CD singing Irish songs and ballads which raised around £40,000 for the pilgrimages.

Dr Moriarty, who retires on his 67th birthday, is married with four children and six grandchildren. He says he has “no special plans” for retirement but a safe bet would keep him helping form policy and care for a long time to come.

He has enjoyed being at the Royal Bolton Hospital - “This is a happy hospital and it’s been a pleasure working here” and paid tribute to his hard-working long-time secretary Zoe Grundy as “absolutely amazing.”

He feels he has been “fortunate” to have the career he has had – and there are certainly thousands of patients who believe they are very fortunate indeed to have known him.