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Andrew Kevin Foster CBE

Andrew Kevin Foster (1973 BA Philosophy, Politics and Economics) died on 20 March 2023 aged 68.

The news of the death of Andrew Foster has been received with great sadness at Keble. Mr Foster was educated at Millfield School, Somerset and came up to Keble to read PPE in 1973. He was a popular member of college, enjoyed all sports and captained the college hockey second team.

After graduation, Mr Foster had a short spell in marketing with Rowntree Mackintosh before moving on to establish a property company in Wigan. Mr Foster went on to enjoy a distinguished career in the NHS, initially as a non-executive director and subsequently as the Chairman of Wrightington Wigan and Leigh Trust successfully turning round an organisation previously dubbed by the local MP as the worst trust in the country.

Following a few years as Director of Policy at the NHS Confederation, Mr Foster was appointed in 2001 as Director General for Workforce at the Department of Health. He led on the major transformation of the NHS, Agenda for change, harmonising and modernising pay, terms of employment and human resources policies across the NHS. In 2007 he returned to Wigan to become the Chief Executive of Wrightington Wigan and Leigh (WWL) hospital, making him unique in having been both chairman and chief executive of the same provider. Mr Foster made a significant contribution, not just to the Trust, but to the wider Wigan borough, Greater Manchester and beyond. His principal focus was on quality and staff engagement, with a particular desire to learn from the best hospitals in the world. Under his leadership, WWL developed a significant reputation, winning many national awards including Provider Trust of the Year in 2014.

Dr Nayyar Naqvi, emeritus consultant cardiologist, said: “Andrew Foster was the best chief executive I have had the privilege of working with during my 53 years in the NHS. He stands head and shoulders above the rest.”

Mr Foster was also a great advocate of international recruitment and was one of the key instigators in setting up WWL’s Global Training and Education Centre (GTEC) which has contributed to the recruitment of many international doctors and nurses not just for WWL but to support other NHS organisations across the country.

In September 2020, following his retirement from WWL Mr Foster was appointed as Chairman of Manx Care on the Isle of Man at the start of the transformation of the island’s healthcare services. He was also a non-executive director at Health Education England, a trustee of ENT UK and honorary president of Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust’s global training education centre.

His wife of 42 years Sara said: “He loved Wigan. He loved Wigan hospital. He loved the staff and the patients, everything. He put staff and patients and patient safety at the heart of everything. If you sliced Andrew, you would find the NHS running through him like a stick of rock.”

Outside work, Mr Foster, who lived in Parbold, was devoted to his three children and eight grandchildren, and enjoyed playing golf.

Kindly provided by contemporary Malcolm Newsam (1973)