After 42 years, Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WWL), has bid a fond farewell to its Director of Estates & Facilities.
David Evans began working for the then Wigan Health Authority in 1980, as a Building Officer based at the Area Works Department in Bryan House in the centre of Wigan. He steadily worked his way up the ranks, ultimately becoming responsible for almost 1000 staff, buildings of over 145,000m2 and a budget of around £42 million to deliver critical Estates and Facilities services across the entire Trust.
Accountable for the complete transformation of the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary estate, including the building of the Trust’s new Emergency Department, Bryn Ward and Community Assessment Unit, David also managed huge developments at Wrightington Hospital such as an £18m facility that featured two new wards, a new admissions and recovery unit and a 4-bay theatre complex. David was also instrumental in the creation of the Hanover Building and Jean Heyes Reablement Unit at Leigh Infirmary.
But the jewel in David’s crown must be the transformation of the Thomas Linacre Centre from Wigan Grammar School to the Outpatient Centre it is today – of which WWL was the first NHS Trust to move outpatient activity off an acute site.
Now David wants to encourage the next generation of Estates & Facilities staff to find their potential in the NHS.
David said: “My first job was at Mersey Regional Health Authority in Liverpool City Centre in 1978 and I was supported right the way through from day one. In 1980, a job for a Building Officer in Wigan came up and I thought, that sounds good – where’s Wigan?
“Wigan was a very different place in 1980, a lot of the estate had not changed since the late 1800s, and we had nine hospitals at that time. Now, so much has changed, we have had major developments at the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary, the merger with Wrightington Hospital came along and then the Thomas Linacre Centre –I’m very proud of all of it.
“In my career I’ve been supported throughout and encouraged, and the Trust is still doing that – I’ve been incredibly lucky.
“I remember I got two job offers at the same time – one with the NHS and one in the private sector – my dad told me to take the one with the NHS because if I kept my nose clean it would be a good career opportunity.
“It is frightening just how quickly the time goes, 44 years has flown by and there are loads of things I’ll miss, such as the challenge of creating new state of the art facilities for our patients, but mostly the people and my Estates & Facilities team.
“None of these achievements would have been possible without the support of the outstanding team and exceptional friends and colleagues over the years.”
In 2019, David won the Chairman’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Duty to Services to the NHS at Wigan at WWL’s internal Recognising Excellence Awards. David also led his team to win two external awards; a Building Better Healthcare Award for the innovative Hanover building at Leigh as well as a prestigious Health Service Journal (HSJ) Value Award in 2016 for Value and Improvement in Estate Management relating to the earlier mentioned Wrightington development. David was also nominated to attend a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace with wife, Karen, of which he was very proud to do so.
Chief Finance Officer, Ian Boyle, said: “A hard working and loyal servant of the NHS, David can rightly be proud of the long heritage he leaves here at WWL; you only need to walk round our sites to see the projects that he has been involved in. David’s heart has always been for the NHS and what has been best for his staff, the Trust and our patients and he will be rightly, and sadly missed, by all his colleagues.”
David now intends to spend his retirement with wife, Karen, a former community nurse and his family, as well as indulging in his love of fast cars and motorbikes.