By: 22 November 2022
Unit at Wrightington Hospital renamed in honour of renowned surgeon

A unit at Wrightington Hospital has been renamed in honour of the late WWL orthopaedic consultant and renowned hand surgeon, Prof. John Stanley.

The unit has three theatres, a 17 bedded male and female upper limb orthopaedic day case ward and a major surgery post operative inpatient ward, all dedicated to the treatment and management of upper limb conditions. 

 Therefore, it seemed only fitting that the unit be renamed in memory of Prof. Stanley who was made a “Pioneer of Hand Surgery” by the International Society of Hand Surgery in 2016.

 Unveiling a plaque on the unit, in front of Wrightington staff, past and present, Mrs Gail Stanley, widow of Prof. Stanley, said: “If John were here, he would be oozing with pride, he utterly loved Wrightington, loved working here, and cared deeply for the staff he worked with and the patients he treated on the upper limb unit.

 “He firmly believed in family and creating a family unit at Wrightington; so much so that we would regularly welcome people from the unit to our home for Christmas and special occasions.

“I remember the building of this unit as if it were yesterday and remember seeing it grow – it is so big now, he would be so proud, and I thank you all for thinking of John and renaming the unit to hold his name in perpetuity.” 

WWL Chair, Mark Jones, who officially opened the unit, said: “Wrightington is known locally, nationally and internationally as a centre of excellence but, no matter how sophisticated the equipment or the buildings we have, it is the people in the hospital who, not only make bones better, but people better.

“So, today we reflect on Prof. Stanley’s life and career, as a very important person in the development of Wrightington Hospital being an internationally recognised orthopaedic centre. It is with great pleasure that we honour his dedication and contribution to the hospital and the patients he has served by naming this unit after him.”

Professor Stanley had over 100 reviewed papers in learned journals as well as many academic accolades, including the International Society of Hand Surgery citing him as one of the greatest surgeons in 2016.

He was born in Cardiff in 1944, and trained at Liverpool University Medical School, qualifying in 1968 and becoming a senior registrar in orthopaedics in 1974. In 1979, he worked at Ormskirk & District General Hospital as a consultant, with sessions at Wrightington Hospital, however, at the age of 35 he had bypass surgery, leading him to make the decision to move to full-time hand surgery at Wrightington in 1984.

From 1991, he joined with colleagues in establishing the unit as a renowned centre of innovation and excellence and, at his retirement in 2009, the Wrightington Upper Limb had a high national and international reputation. 

Rachel Morgan, Ward Manager on the Unit said the ward and theatres work closely together to create a unit rather than just wards and theatres, working with the family ethos that Mrs Stanley spoke of.

She said: “As the Ward Manager I feel incredibly proud to have been a part of the re-naming ceremony and to hear the incredible stories about Prof. Stanley told by his wife and colleagues.

“Patients on the unit will have access to surgery performed by elite upper limb surgeons, be nursed by staff who are highly experienced in both upper limb pre and post operative care and their surgery will be followed up by specialised hand therapists and physiotherapists.

“Everyone on the ward feels so honoured to represent the name and legacy of Prof. Stanley, a pioneer of upper limb surgery and a man that without, we wouldn’t have a unit to work on.”


Image: Mrs Stanley with the Ward Manager, Rachel Morgan, and Mark Jones.