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Sad News

News Date: Monday 2 July 2007

It is with great sadness that Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust announces the recent death of our Chairman, Brian Strett. Brian became Chairman of the Trust in 2002 after a year as Acting Chairman.

Brian had a wealth of experience of working within Local Government in social and health care and was an ardent campaigner for the rights of people with varying types of disability.

Brian Strett

Born in 1945 in Cheltenham, Brian was the son of an officer in the Indian Army. Brian was a qualified engineer in the motor industry, before changing careers to become a Mental Health Nurse prior to running his own small business.

He spent 24 years as an elected member of Wigan Council, for 20 of these years played a leading role as Chair of Social Services, Chair of Finance Committees and finally Cabinet Member for the Environment.  Part of his other duties included sitting as a Director of Manchester Airport and the Yorkshire Purchasing Consortium where he was Vice Chair.  He was also involved in running many local charities.

Brian was totally committed to improving Health Services for the Wigan and Leigh Community and was completely dedicated to the Trust. Prior to his appointment to on the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust Board, he was a Non-Executive on the Board of Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust and a member of the Wigan and District Health Authority for over 8 years. In total, this means that he spent 18 years as a Chairman or Board Member of the local NHS Services.

As Chairman of the Trust, Brian was instrumental in leading the organisation through a number of major developments and initiatives. This included:

  • The opening of the Thomas Linacre Centre, an innovative standalone outpatient facility.
  • The RAEI Phase IV Development, which included the new emergency care centre, the children’s accident and emergency centre, improvements in x-ray and diagnostic services
  • Employee of the Month
  • Long Service Awards
  • Recognising Excellence Awards Chairman’s Award
  • The Leigh Infirmary Centenary celebrations
  • Volunteer’s Day
  • Paediatric Outpatient’s
  • National Nurses Day
  • Chairman’s Charity Shield
  • Continual 3 Star rating
  • Fostering good working relationships with the local health economy and key stakeholders.

Les Higgins, Vice Chairman paid tribute to Brian’s dedication:  “Brian cared passionately about the National Health Service and in particular about health services in Wigan and Leigh. Brian took on the role of Chairman at the Trust after a long career serving the Wigan community as a local Councilor.
Andrew Foster, Chief Executive of the Trust says “On behalf of the Trust I would like to pass on our sincere condolences and sympathy to Brian’s family. The Trust Board, staff and volunteers across the whole of the Trust will sadly miss Brian and his commitment to improving the health service in the Wigan Borough. On a personal note, I am very sorry to have lost a long standing colleague and friend.”

Brian was always looking at ways to improve the patient experience and his latest initiative was the development of an infection control information card. The card was developed to inform, improve and promote the benefits of good hand hygiene to staff, patients and visitors. This initiative is due to be launched this month with the help of the hospital’s Voluntary Services.

Local MP’s gave the following tributes:

Ian McCartney “Brian made an outstanding contribution to public life in Wigan Borough and in particular has seen the rebuilding of the NHS. He will be greatly missed.

Neil Turner “Brian was great at fostering relationships between PCT, Local Authority and Trust Board.”

Andy Burnham “I was very saddened to hear this news. The NHS has lost one of its greatest friends. Brian was a formidable advocate for the people of our Borough and had an outstanding record of public services over many decades. He was a loyal Labour man but never afraid to speak his mind as many of us can testify. He was a true friend to the end and his work to improve health and social care in the Borough will outlive him.”