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Ashton-in-Makerfield Community Forum

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Extracts from this forum and other material have been brought together to provide a local history from the contributions of members.

Ashton-in-Makerfield Community Forum
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When David and I were nurses at Winwick Hospital we also played together in a group: McKendrick,s Moonshiners together with my brother Tim (who later gained fame in Poacher and now The Bogtrotter’s) and Jan Jankowski, another nurse at the hospital. We practised in David’s front room, lubricating our vocal chords with his home made Rosehip and Fig wine (also an excellent laxative). We played many a “gig” at local labour clubs, David’s Reliant van was the groups bandwagon! Fun Times …

David has always held very strong views about fairness and social responsibility and these qualities made him the man we admired and respected, and drove him both in his personal life and in his career.

Through his career at Winwick Hospital David constantly challenged the management and pushed them to bring about changes in clinical practice and encourage them to adopt a more open and inclusive style of management.

In the 1970’s, his concerns were proven when the Hospital Advisory Service undertook a major review of the hospital and made a great many recommendations this led to a change in management and which began to open up the hospital and change clinical practice from an institutional model to one which provided alternatives particularly rehabilitation and community care.

Part of this change involved the setting up of a Joint Consultative Committee between staff and management to discuss long overdue concerns about communication and patient care that had been simmering for many years.

David along with others was instrumental in setting up ‘The Standard’ a hospital magazine which was part of the process of developing better communications.

As the Hospital began to develop during the 1970’s and 80’s and to rehabilitate patients back into the community David embarked on a change of career and became a Community Psychiatric Nurse, working with and supporting patients following their discharge and supporting and treating patients in the community to prevent hospitalisation.

He also played a major role nationally in the setting up of the Community Psychiatric Nurses Association which brought together nurses who, with David, shared a common goal of wanting to change psychiatry from Institutional care to Community care which is thankfully the model we see today.

David was a very intelligent man and when he qualified as a Registered Mental Nurse (RMN) he was awarded the Gold Medal.

He also had a particular talent with computers and quickly saw the benefits that this technology could bring to his clinical work in the community, he wrote about this and had articles published in the Community Psychiatric Nursing Journal.

David and I lost contact for a while after we both left the hospital to pursue our own careers I’m glad to say we rekindled our friendship and have since enjoyed many social occasions reminiscing, crying with laughter and of course singing and playing the guitar together.

On one of these occasions we met at David and Sue’s house and began reminiscing about our time at Winwick Hospital. Typically, David disappeared for a few minutes, re-emerging with a box full of copies of the hospital magazine he had been storing in the loft.

Reading these prompted much discussion and following this David decided to set up a website “Winwick Remembered” which would allow staff, patients and relatives to share their memories, he also scanned onto the site all the copies of the hospital magazine.

The site has grown in popularity and I’m sure will prove to be a lasting tribute to my truly good friend David McKendrick who was much loved by his family and friends and will be sadly missed.

To Sue and all of David’s family, I send my love and hope that they can draw comfort from these memories, and the great strength of the lovely man they have shared their lives with for so long but far too short a time.

Terry Flaherty

Town: Warrington