Countess of Chester Hospital

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Countess of Chester Hospital
Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Countess of Chester - - 1336493.jpg
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
Beds 625
Founded 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. The site was officially opened in 1984. It currently has 625 beds, general medical departments and a 24-hour accident and emergency unit.

Current site[edit]

The hospital, which was one of the first Foundation Trusts, is generally considered to be of a high quality. It consistently received the top 3-star rating in the national performance charts.

The hospital mainly comprises two or three storey buildings across the site. Most are interconnected with walkways, a large glass 'sky-bridge' links the main hospital to the paediatric and pre-natal department. It has a new extended outpatient wing known as the CARE building or Outpatients Four. Opened in January 2006, it houses 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.[1] 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.


Cheshire Lunatic Asylum, engraving by Dean after Musgrove

In 1829, the Cheshire Lunatic Asylum opened on part of the site. The county's mental health unit was based in the 'Lunatic Asylum Building'. The name of the site changed throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, from the "Chester County Lunatic Asylum", to "County Mental Hospital", to the "Upton Mental Hospital", finally the "Deva Hospital".[2] During this period, treatment for mental illness changed from institutional confinement to medication and therapy making the wards less busy. Eventually less than 5% of patients were kept confined in the hospital for treatment.

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 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 district at a purpose-built site on Liverpool Road adjacent to the county mental hospital facilities.[2]

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.[2]


The Trust lost the contract for sexual health services when Cheshire West and Chester Council awarded it to East Cheshire NHS Trust in December 2014.[3]

It spent £3.7 million on agency staff in 2014/5.[4]

In 2015/6 it cancelled urgent operations 37 times - the highest number of any NHS trust in England.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hospital "stubs out" bad example, Real Story, BBC News, 2007-01-24
  2. ^ a b c "A History of the County of Chester: Volume 5 part 2: The City of Chester: Culture, Buildings, Institutions". British History Online. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  3. ^ "Chester doctors go to war with council over sexual health". Chester Chronicle. 3 December 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2015. 
  4. ^ "Agency spending: the real picture". Health Service Journal. 26 November 2015. Retrieved 23 December 2015. 
  5. ^ "Rise in urgent operations being cancelled". Health Service Journal. 11 May 2016. Retrieved 28 July 2016. 

Coordinates: 53°12′31″N 2°53′55″W / 53.20861°N 2.89861°W / 53.20861; -2.89861

External links[edit]