Mural unveiled in hospital corridor to celebrate 150th anniversary of Wigan Infirmary
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It was the first of many events organised by Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) to mark its “big birthday month”, which coincides with the 90th anniversary of Wrightington Hospital, 50 years of WWL Radio and 75 years of the NHS.
The mural was commissioned by Wigan Central councillor George Davies, a former porter at the hospital, who has also produced a booklet marking the 150th anniversary, and has been installed along the link corridor at entrance two.
Coun Davies said: “This mural is dedicated to our colleagues who have worked or contributed to the ongoing development of the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary.
“It is a great honour to say a big thank you to everyone who have put in a great service throughout its 150 years.”
Ms Nandy said: “It is a real pleasure to join George and some of our wonderful NHS staff for this celebration, and to have the privilege of unveiling this special mural to commemorate a landmark year for Royal Albert Edward Infirmary and the NHS in our town.
“The last few difficult years have been another reminder of how much we owe the amazing staff who work in our health service and look after us and our families in times of need.”
Trust chairman Mark Jones said: “The Royal Albert Edward Infirmary was, and still is, a critical site for the people of Wigan and I would like to thank all of our staff and volunteers past and present who have made it the great place it is today.
“WWL is a unique and special place and our staff are the beating heart of our organisation and I would like to thank them all for all that they do every day for our patients.”
Between 1798 and 1824, just 580 patients were admitted per year to the old Wigan Dispensary, which would go on to become Wigan Infirmary when Prince Albert Edward of Wales officially opened the building with his wife Princess Alexander in June 1873.
At that time there were around 150 beds, but when the hospital became part of the NHS in 1948 this increased to 228, treating more than 5,000 in-patients per year.
Today, there are more than 500 beds, treating over 75,000 in-patients and seeing over 110,000 patients per year in the A&E unit and almost 50,000 patients at urgent treatment centres.
Just 83 births were recorded at Wigan Infirmary in 1948 and 965 at Billinge Hospital, but today WWL’s maternity service sees approximately 3,000 births per year.
In the radiology department in 1948 19,333 X-ray examinations were performed in Wigan. In 2023, in addition to normal X-rays, the trust’s state-of-the-art radiology department performs 54,000 CT scans and around 23,000 MRI scans per year.
Wigan Infirmary is now part of WWL with Wrightington Hospital, Leigh Infirmary and other health services.