David Peverelle has had many titles in a career spanning more than 30 years. He joined the NHS in 1978 as an administrative trainee for Barnsley Health Authority.
Over the years that followed, David’s titles have included assistant administrator, hotel services manager, business manager, director of operations, Director of Clinical Services and currently Chief Operating Officer at Barnsley Hospital.
“I’ve seen a lot of changes over the years, and not just with titles,” says David, 56, who hails from Wolverhampton. “My first 24 months in the NHS were in personnel – now known as HR – and as assistant administrator to the Sector Administrator – now known as the Hospital Chief Executive. From there I joined Sheffield Children’s Hospital as Assistant Administrator and later became the Deputy Administrator.
David describes: “At that time, in the 1980s, hospitals were directly managed units and consequently there were only two of us running the place. Accounts, HR, all the support services were provided by the health authority.”
“Sheffield Children’s is a small specialist hospital and I got a good grounding in working for a specialist unit a hospital that has a national and international reputation.”
When ‘general management came into the NHS’
After eight years in Sheffield, David went on secondment to Nottingham General Hospital as Manager for Site and Specialty Services to manage both clinical and support services across a number of sites and this included a brief period as acting Unit General Manager. This was the time when ‘general management came into the NHS’.
Within two years, David became the Hotel Services Manager at the renowned Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC), Nottingham, overseeing estates and facilities. “One of my memorable experiences from there was meeting Prince Charles as he was a patient at the QMC and that of course meant organising a lot of security,” recalls David.
By 1991, David had returned to clinical management as a Business Manager for the Medicine Directorate at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield. The NHS at this time was changing again with the introduction of the internal market, trusts and GP fund holders and the idea of chief executives running hospitals. David says: “There were over 100 consultants and academics in my directorate and I gained a lot of experience in developing new services – the closure of some hospitals and the reprovision of services including capital development projects.”
On top of an HND, a degree in public administration and Institute of Health Service Mangers professional qualification, David went on to complete an MBA, pursuing an interest in marketing and how hospitals would start to market their services to GPs.
Coming back to Barnsley
He spent eight years at the Royal Hallamshire before returning to Barnsley as one of the two Directors of Operations (medical). He then became the single Director of Clinical Services, and has been Chief Operating Officer, an Executive Director position, since July 2008.
David has a wealth of NHS management experience, covering notably clinical, support, facilities and estates, which is invaluable in his current position. “I’ve got quite a broad role at Barnsley– it’s a co-ordinating and management role with responsibility for operational delivery. We’re a small hospital but a thriving and successful one.”
The hospital is ambitious and has plans to invest in its facilities, not least an £18 million upgrade of women’s and children’s and the integration of accident & emergency and non elective admissions, estimated at costing £5m. David says: “Improving services for patients is what most of us work for and I get a lot of satisfaction out of that and the value it brings to the community and the people of Barnsley. As a hospital we have made tremendous strides in improving the services we offer, particularly in relation to reduced waiting times.”
Over the last few years, David, who has two daughters, has taken up running. “I go out most mornings or evenings and have got into doing 10km runs – I’ve done two this year up in the North East.” David also enjoys walking and gardening with his wife, Vicky, Head of Governance at Barnsley.
He adds: “Coming back to Barnsley felt like it was a bit of payback to the local NHS for investing in me when I first joined in 1978. There have been a lot of changes since then, but with advancing years and wisdom, you realise that the hospital is “the constant” through the changes.”