The WWL Way
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‘Radio WWL’ for this Trust Family

Newsdate: 30 May 2018  

At Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust we encourage our staff to develop and pass down their experience and knowledge to new generations of the WWL Family.

One family working within the Trust has three generation’s worth of knowledge with Helen Cooper, her daughter Susan Bamford, and Susan’s three children Josh Bamford, Simone Critchley and Emma Critchley, all working across WWL’s three sites.

Helen Cooper, 73, of Whelley, started working with the Trust as a domestic assistant at Whelley Hospital. Following the closure of the hospital, Helen then transferred over to the Wigan Infirmary site, working between the wards and theatres.

“There was certainly a difference between Whelley Hospital and Wigan Hospital, I found it very hectic at Wigan,” says Helen.

Helen’s daughter, Susan Bamford, 53, also made the move from Whelley to Wigan, having joined the Trust as an auxiliary nurse before applying for a job on Lowton Ward at the Infirmary.

Her years of experience as an auxiliary nurse, and the sense of belonging she felt in the Trust, encouraged Susan, from New Springs, to stay and move onto a position with the Occupational Therapy team.

And it isn’t just Susan who has worked as an auxiliary nurse. Daughter, Emma, 30 from New Springs currently works as one, whilst eldest daughter Simone, 32, from Poolstock, joined WWL as an auxiliary nurse before progressing to become a junior doctor’s assistant.

The opportunities for progression are one of the best things about the Trust for Simone who says, “There are so many opportunities and everybody supports each other. You can start somewhere and progress into other areas whilst you’re here.”

With four other members of the family working at WWL, it was, some may say inevitable, that the youngest sibling, Josh also joined the Trust, after graduating university.

Josh, 24 from Aspull, began his career with the Occupational Health team before putting his experience into practice with the Communications and PR Department.

For him, joining the Trust was the obvious choice.

“I think, for me, it was very much that the NHS is where you want to be, because everyone else had gone there,” says Josh.

“Working for WWL is very much a family thing,” agrees Susan.

But having numerous members of your family working alongside you isn’t always easy as Josh and Simone soon found out.

“Once I started everybody said that they knew my mum before they knew me,” Josh says.

“We have had lots of ‘Oh,I didn’t know Susan was your mum’ comments throughout the years,” laughs Simone.

But for Susan, it makes it easier to keep the family together and stay in touch, “especially when you don’t see them because of work, at least you know you’re going to bump into them on the wards at some time or another,” she says.

And a family member that you can open to about work makes a massive difference for Simone.
“Everybody understands how hard it is,” she says. “It’s good that you have people in your family that do understand the ways of working.”

However, for some members of the family, the conversation topic of WWL isn’t as interesting.
“My husband calls it NHS Radio because when we meet as a family we’re all talking about the NHS and how we’re all progressing.”

And, now retired, Helen sees the other side of the WWL experience.

“Whenever I have to come in as a patient, I’m always really well looked after and everyone does their very best to see me quickly,” she says.

In the end though, it is the family feel in the Trust that makes a major difference to the working lives of the whole family.
“Even though it’s stressful it’s a very happy place to work in,” says Susan, “and it is definitely the staff that makes the hospital.

“You can come in to work, even when you’re feeling down, and you know you’re going to have a laugh.”

“And just knowing that everything that everyone in the Trust does can make a difference to patients in some way, you can go home after a hard day and think at least I’ve been of some benefit,” adds Josh.

But after 14 years of working in the Trust Susan can only pinpoint one major downfall.
“There’s only one,” she says, “whenever it’s anyone’s birthday everyone keeps bringing cakes in!”