After 32 years of working in health services in West Yorkshire, Terry Whelan is retiring from his post as patient service manager for learning disability services in Wakefield at the South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust.

Terry began nurse training in 1972 at Meanwood Park Hospital after enjoying working there within a voluntary post. After qualifying as a learning disability nurse he began postgraduate psychiatric nurse training at St James’ Hospital, Leeds. During his early career, Terry spent time working as a staff nurse within acute admissions at St James’ Hospital before being promoted to charge nurse at the special care unit at High Royds Hospital, Leeds.

In 1982 Terry moved to Wakefield to work as a charge nurse for the Yorkshire Centre for Forensic Psychiatry at Fieldhead. He was later promoted to nursing officer and in 1985 was seconded to Stanley Royd Hospital, Wakefield as acting care group manager.

Terry’s next role was as sector manager for acute and elderly services, and in 1993 he co-ordinated and managed the reprovision of services from Stanley Royd Hospital when it closed. Working alongside the health authority he was responsible for the development of community based rehabilitation services and overseeing the building of four new rehabilitation homes.

Over the past six years Terry has worked as patient service manager, managing the reprovision of learning disability services in Wakefield and the resettlement of 100 clients into a supported living scheme. His role has included the management of respite care and group homes, and the development of community learning disability teams, long stay services and a new £2.8 million learning disability unit which has been built at Fieldhead.

Speaking about his long career, Terry said, ‘I’ve seen many changes in mental health and learning disability services over the years and it is very encouraging to see how far we’ve come. I’m looking forward to having some free time but I will miss all of my colleagues and the healthcare community.’

He continued, ‘One of the highlights of my career was in July this year when I was nominated by the Trust to have tea with the Queen. It was a fantastic day and my wife and I enjoyed it immensely. The interior of Buckingham Palace was beautiful and so were the grounds and gardens. It was really nice to speak to the other people who had been invited to the day and everyone that we met was extremely friendly. The Queen and Prince Phillip joined us all for afternoon tea in the palace gardens and stayed at the party for over an hour. It is definitely an experience I’ll never forget.’

Terry will be spending his free time on DIY projects around the house and improving his golfing skills.


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