Chris and Katie make NHS work a family affair

Chris Bullock and Katie Holroyd
Chris Bullock and Katie Holroyd

The borough’s hospital trust likes to think of itself as one big family.

And in some instances its staff are actually related to each other.

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To celebrate the NHS turning 70 on July 5, Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust has been seeking out the “WWL Family” stories that have evolved across its three sites over the years.

One of these generational connections can be found between Katie Holroyd and her mum, Chris Bullock.

Starting with the Trust in 1984, Chris, now retired, applied for a part-time job at Bryan House in Wigan town centre which was then the trust’s headquarters.

“I didn’t have an aspiration to work in the NHS, it was just something I fell into,” said Chris.

“I had my first child but didn’t work for the first couple of years and then decided I wanted to come back to work.”

Chris’s part-time job was the first in many stepping stones which saw her progressing to the post of personal assistant to the general manager over her 30 years’ service to the trust.

“I had a really nice working life here at Wrightington Wigan and Leigh,” says the married mum-of-two from Abram.

“I really enjoyed and met some wonderful people.

“I’m really proud of what I’ve given to the NHS and feel so proud that I’ve been able to do so in my own town.”

Chris’s career journey with the health organisation is mirrored by daughter Katie’s own professional trajectory.

Originally joining the NHS in 2004 as a summer job after leaving school, the 30-year-old originally had plans to study performing arts at college with an aspiration of becoming a drama teacher further down the line.

But after working in the Medical Assessment Unit, Urgent Care, and the Cancer Care Centre Katie, from Ince, then joined the Macmillan Team which she now describes as her “dream job”.

“The job just really took my interest and now I’m here it’s my dream job,” said Katie.

“The team I work with is exceptional and I would never get that sense of achievement anywhere else, and I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else.

“Being part of the Macmillan team means we’re dealing with a sensitive subject so, doing what I do, I really, really take pride in it.”

And throughout the years working together, Katie and Chris have enjoyed having each other around.

Chris, who also has a son - 36-year-old Christopher - said: “I’m very proud of Katie, it was nice having her here, apart from when she was asking for dinner money!”

Katie added: “As mum had been working here a while before me, a lot of people half knew me, so I found joining the Trust easier because people felt like they already knew me because of my mum, and mum could guide me about courses and progression.”

And Chris said: “At the end of the day you always had in the back of your mind that what you were doing was for the benefit of the patients.

“Even though I wasn’t on the front line I hope that everything that I did had some impact.

“If I only ever helped one person that it was worth my 30 years here.”

Do you work in the NHS and currently have family doing the same or are did you follow in an ancestor’s footsteps by joining the service? If so we would love to hear your family story. Ring 01942 506271 during office hours.