Countess of Chester Hospital
|Countess of Chester Hospital|
|Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust|
Pedestrian entrance to Countess of Chester Hospital, Liverpool Road, Chester
|Location||Chester, Cheshire, England, United Kingdom|
|Care system||Public NHS|
|Hospital type||District General|
|Affiliated university||University of Liverpool School of Medicine|
University of Chester
Swansea University School of Medicine
|Emergency department||Yes Accident & Emergency|
|Opened||1829 Cheshire Lunatic Asylum|
1968 West Cheshire Hospital
1984 Countess of Chester Hospital
|Lists||Hospitals in England|
The Countess of Chester is the main NHS hospital for Chester and its surrounding area. It currently has 625 beds, general medical departments and a 24-hour accident and emergency unit. It is managed by the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which was one of the first Foundation Trusts, formed in 2004.
The hospital has its origins in the "Cheshire Lunatic Asylum" which opened on part of the site in 1829. The name of the facility changed to "County Mental Hospital" in 1921, to the "Upton Mental Hospital" on joining the National Health Service in 1948, and then to the "Deva Hospital" in 1950.
By 1948, Chester Royal Infirmary specialized in surgery and out-patients and the City Hospital, Hoole, in chronic illnesses, chest, maternity, paediatric, and general medical cases. Pre-war plans for the expansion of the Infirmary were eventually revived. In 1963 a large out-patient and casualty department was opened at the infirmary; this was accompanied with the completion of the Chester inner ring road in 1967. However, after the creation of the West Cheshire HMC (hospital management committee), a fresh decision was taken to focus all the hospital services for the district at a purpose-built site on Liverpool Road, adjacent to the county mental hospital facilities.
In 1968, the new site was renamed the "West Cheshire Hospital". The maternity unit at the City Hospital was transferred to a new building at the south end of the site in 1971. With the opening of a new general wing and A&E department in 1983, several surgical departments from the Royal Infirmary were relocated to the new buildings. On 30 May 1984, West Cheshire Hospital was officially renamed the Countess of Chester Hospital by Prince Charles and Princess Diana. In 1993, the Royal Infirmary site was closed after its remaining departments were transferred to the Countess. The City Hospital, which had become a 120-bed geriatric unit, was closed in 1994 after its services were taken over by the Countess in 1991.
In January 2006, the CARE building, sometimes known as Outpatients Four, opened and started providing new facilities the Cardiac Catheter Laboratory, Department of Clinical Audiology, Renal & Urology Department and ENT Department.
In 2007, the Countess of Chester became the first hospital in the UK to completely ban smoking for both workers and patients. In April 2014 a new two storey wing was opened containing a state of the art 21 bed Intensive Care Unit on the first floor, replacing the old HDU and ITU wards. On the ground floor is an expanded endoscopy unit and the bariatric outpatients department.
Part of the old mental health hospital building, now called the 1829 Building, serves as headquarters for West Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, and various other NHS support organisations. The Bowmere mental health hospital is on the same site, as is Ancora House, a purpose-built Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services unit.
In April 2019 it announced that it would no longer provide elective treatment for Welsh patients because the Welsh government were not prepared to pay the full costs.  The Welsh government have not increased the tariff for NHS procedures in line with NHS England, so the trust is paid about 8% less for patients from Wales. Rising waiting lists mean the trust can increase the work it does for English patients, which is more remunerative.
In 2015/6 it cancelled urgent operations 37 times - the highest number of any NHS trust in England.
Investigation into high infant mortality rates
In July 2016 the Neonatal unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital stopped accepting premature infants born before 32 weeks, partially due to an unexplained high mortality rate in 2015 and 2016, instead diverting them to other hospitals in the North West of England, such as Alder Hey. A series of investigations were initiated to ascertain the reasons for the sharp rise in mortalities, with an independent review being carried out by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Royal College of Nursing. Despite this report finding some staffing levels "inadequate", the Foundation Trust were unable to identify the fundamental cause or causes of the high mortality rate, with the independent report similarly finding "no single cause or factor identified to explain the increase .. seen in [the] mortality numbers". In May 2017, the Foundation Trust brought Cheshire Police in to assist with the ongoing review, stating this was to "seek assurances that enable us to rule out unnatural causes of death."
On 3 July 2018, a registered nurse working in the neonatal unit at the hospital was arrested by police and charged with eight counts of suspected murder and six counts of attempted murder, following a year-long investigation. The investigation was subsequently widened to include Liverpool Women's Hospital, another location at which the nurse had worked. The nurse was bailed on 6 July as the police continued their enquiries, and was rearrested on 10 June 2019 in connection with eight murders and nine attempted murders of babies.
- List of hospitals in England
- List of NHS trusts
- Listed buildings in Upton by Chester
- Chapel at the Countess of Chester Hospital
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- Thomas, Justin (8 July 2018). "All health organisations collect data, but failing to analyse it can put lives at risk". The National. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
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- "Update on Countess of Chester Hospital neonatal unit investigation". Cheshire Constabulary. 6 July 2018. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
- Halliday, Josh (10 June 2019). "Police investigating baby deaths at Chester hospital rearrest nurse". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
- Exploring Deva Asylum, Aka Countess Of Chester Hospital (link broken)