Corporate Information

News Archive 2011

Santas fill the streets of Chester

Wednesday 21st December 2011

Chester's first ever Santa Dash took place on Sunday 11th December, with 1500 Santa's and reindeers 'dashing' through the streets of Chester. This festive event, sponsored by M&S Money set off from the University of Chester Riverside Campus Building in Castle Street at 9.30am and was officially started by Ian Puleston-Davies of Coronation Street, who was delighted to see such a great turn out.

The first runner back was James Preston who lives with partner Laura Homeyard in Chester but is currently serving in Scotland with the Royal Navy. He completed the run in 11.06 minutes. It was a close finish with Lee Horton in 2nd place, Mark Gould in 3rd and Sean Taylor in 4th place.

As well as those running the route there were hundreds of others walking with babies and children all in festive outfits, and several dogs also joined in too! The oldest participant was 90 year old Gertrude Seale.

The Chester Santa Dash was organised by - and is raising funds for - the Children's Unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital and the child bereavement service at The Hospice of the Good Shepherd.

Fundraising Manager, Janet Ratcliffe, said: "We have several local organisations  to thank for their support, particularly M&S Money Chester, The University of Chester, Hickory's Starbucks, Smithfield Electronics, Deva Cheerleaders, Funky Money and the Karumba Samba Band, whose support and assistance was invaluable in the organisation of the Chester Santa Dash.  We also couldn't have put on such a large scale event without the support of a large number of fantastic volunteers who manned the marshal points around the route and the registration desks."

Flickr Slide show


PIP breast implants not used at the Countess of Chester Hospital

Wednesday 21st December 2011

The national media has today reported on the potential danger of a specific brand of breast implants - Poly Implant Prothese (PIP). This particular brand has never been used at the Countess of Chester Hospital and the Trust would like to issue the following statement to alleviate any concerns that our patients or potential patients may have:

"All women undergoing surgery under the care of the breast surgeons or plastic surgeons at the Countess of Chester Hospital (COCH), requiring reconstruction of the breast of any kind using a silicone implant, or having breast augmentation using silicone implants, have NOT been given PIP implants.  We have never used this brand of implant.  We only use Allergan (aka McGhan, aka Natrelle), Mentor or Nagor makes of implant.  Therefore our patients need to be reassured that there is no issue, as these companies use surgical grade silicone and not the inferior grade used by PIP.

"Women who have had surgery using silicone implants by surgeons from other hospitals might be referred to COCH or assessment. Ideally they should be referred to the surgeon who did the original implant surgery. Women need to find out from their original surgeon/hospital what make of implant was used in their case before being referred into COCH. This should alleviate unnecessary worry. If their implant is not PIP, they do not need to be assessed. If their implants were PIP, or they apparently cannot find out, then they should be referred in for assessment of implant integrity to plastic surgery.

"We await a guidance from the Department of Health as to whether these patients who have had PIP implants will need additional breast screening in the future." - Breast General Surgeon Consultant for the Countess of Chester Hospital, Claudia Harding-Mackean

Please view the following article for more details around the issue:


Visiting restrictions in place

Monday 12th December 2011

Over the weekend, the Countess of Chester Hospital made the decision to restrict patient visiting across the hospital to contain an outbreak of vomiting and diarrhoea. As a result, visiting all wards is by appointment only via the Nurse in Charge until further notice.

Visitors are being asked for their help in tackling winter bugs, which can lead to hospital wards being unable to accept any new admissions, NHS staff going off sick and appointments being postponed.

Cases of diarrhoea and vomiting traditionally go up at this time of year.  They are caused by two types of virus; Norovirus and Rotavirus.  They cause unpleasant but short-lived symptoms for the majority of people, but can have a devastating effect if they get into a hospital.

Consultant Microbiologist at the Countess, Dr John Croall, said: "We know that these viruses are already circulating widely in the community - for example we have seen local schools affected.  We are asking for the help of everyone visiting the hospital to keep the bugs out.  If these bugs get into a hospital, they can make people who are already poorly seriously ill, particularly older people and those who have long term health conditions. 

"These bugs can pass quickly between visitors, patients and staff.   We have policies in place to de-contaminate ward areas, but these can take a few days to have an impact. Winter is always a busy time for us, and the last thing we need is staff off ill, beds unavailable and appointments being postponed.  What's more, we might have to restrict visiting over the Christmas period, meaning patients could have a lonely time over Christmas and New Year."

Over the last couple of days the Countess has been required to restrict patient visiting across the hospital to contain outbreaks of vomiting and diarrhoea. Although not all wards have been affected by vomiting and diarrhoea, the decision to restrict visiting on all wards was made as a precautionary measure for the safety of patients and to ensure it does not spread.

Dr Croall added:  "We need people to help us keep our services running as normal, and there are some really basic steps they can take.  If you have been sick or had diarrhoea within the last 48 hours then please do not visit the hospital.  Please do not bring children aged 12 years or younger into the hospital, as they often pick up these bugs at school."

Symptoms such as sickness and diarrhoea can be best treated by staying at home, drinking plenty of fluids and getting some rest.  Advice is available from your local high-street pharmacist, on line from NHS Choices and from NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. 

For information on the visiting restrictions currently in place at the Countess, please visit:


Clot campaign hits national target

Tuesday 6th December 2011

The Countess of Chester Hospital is proud to announce that it has achieved the national target of assessing more than 90% of its patients for their risk of blood clots.  This includes Deep Vein Thombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary Embolism (PE - a blood clot that has travelled to the lung).

The Countess of Chester Hospital aims to assess all adult inpatients and day cases for their risk assessment of DVT and PE, and that they receive the correct treatment and preventative measures, and are provided with information about DVT and PE.

The Countess of Chester Hospital was chosen as the first, and only, Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) Exemplar Centre in the North West of England, after assessment by the Parliamentary Thrombosis Implementation Working Group, in January 2010.  In addition, the hospital had a recent inspection through the NHS Litigation Authority, at which its work on DVT and PE prevention was praised.  The health initiative is led by Mr Sameh Dimitri, Chair of the Thrombosis Group, and Consultant and Lead Vascular Surgeon and Dr Virginia Clough, Medical Director and Consultant Haematologist.  They widely advertised their intiative called "Stop the Clot 2010" throughout the hospital.

With an alarming 25,000 people dying each year from hospital acquired VTE, (more than from breast cancer, AIDS and road traffic accidents put together) the need for initiatives like 'Stop the Clot' is obvious. Mr Dimitri explains, "Depending on a patient's health, the actions we take will vary. For example, a young, fit and healthy adult may require a simple measure such as compression stockings based on their risk assessment. However, higher risk patients with a previous history of venous thromboembolism may require more complex management. Each course of treatment is tailored to the individual's needs."

Maintaining this Exemplar status and enviable record regarding DVT prevention and treatment became a real challenge for the Countess of Chester Hospital. Working in partnership with Gus Sagoo, NHS Partnership Development Manager at LEO Pharma, Mr Dimitri was able to explain the need for a designated nurse to help us carry out the risk assessments. Prior to this, a vascular specialist nurse had been conducting the patient assessments alongside her many other duties. With LEO's support, a designated VTE nurse was employed.

Mr Dimitri said: "Exemplar status is about having the right tools in place so that each patient can be properly assessed and then the right preventative measures or correct drug dosages administered.  It is the role of the VTE nurse to pull all these factors together.  We are most grateful for the support that Leo have given us".

To further strengthen the ongoing initiative and implement risk assessments on a wider basis, the Countess is planning to work more closely with Western Cheshire Primary Care Trust to ensure that the knowledge is extended to GP surgeries and to the community in general. As Mr Dimitri points out: "The risk of suffering a clot can go beyond a patient's hospital stay, and in some patients it remains there when they are discharged so our aim is to work closely with the PCT to ensure extended VTE prophylaxis is provided for 'at risk' patients after they have left the hospital, to further reduce the risk."

Mr Dimitri concluded: "I would like to emphasise the fact that the Stop the Clot 2010 initiative's successful launch and our subsequent exemplar status accreditation are a richly deserved recognition of the hard work and dedication of my colleagues in the Thrombosis Team and all members of staff. I'd like to thank Virginia Clough, Carys Humphreys, Angela Lamberton, Hilary Leggat, Lucy Langan, Chris Green, Martin Sedgwick, Jeanette Devine, Jed Hawe, Mark Webb, Sally Goode and Gus Sagoo for their valuable contribution. We take great pride in providing high standard, quality care to our patients and continuing to be one of the leading health providers in theNorth West." 


Trees light up hospital

Tuesday 6th December 2011

 The Trees of Light ceremony gave members of the public the chance to dedicate a light to a loved one last week, an event which also saw their names being entered into a Book of Honour.

Memories and celebrations of loved ones lit up the ceremony. The event was organised for anyone who has lost a close friend or relative, whether or not they were patients at the hospital.

Chester Music Society Choir appeared at this year's event which featured music, readings, and hot mince pies. In addition, Dr Michael Gilbertson, Archdeacon of Chester, was the event's guest of honour and switched the lights on. The ceremony was led by the Trust's Chaplaincy Co-ordinator, Rev John Kingsley.  

Fundraising Manager, Janet Ratcliffe, said: "The Trees of Light is such a special appeal and gives people the chance to honour lost loved ones or to celebrate the life of a loved one. The fact that our event takes place near Christmas makes it an even more special occasion as it can be an emotional time for people."

Chaplaincy Co-ordinator, Reverend John Kingsley, said: "The proceeds of the Trees of Light annual appeal are used to improve the care and support to patients and relatives at the time of bereavement. This year we will be continuing to develop our bereavement care with the provision of a counselling service. We are extremely grateful for everyone's generosity which has made this work possible through the Trees of Light Appeal."


Day of industrial action - 30 Nov 2011

Thursday 24th November 2011

A day of industrial action is taking place throughout the public sector on Wednesday 30th November 2011 in protest to the government's proposed changes to public sector pensions.

Although the Countess of Chester Hospital has plans in place to deal with any disruptions that may be caused, there will undoubtedly be increased pressure on our services throughout the day as a result.

Here is some information and advice on how the day of action is likely to affect the Trust:

Unless instructed otherwise, patients with appointments should attend as normal - it is not necessary to call the Appointments Hotline for any further clarification. We advise patients to arrive early on this day.

  • Members of the British Medical Association (BMA) and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) will  not be striking.
  • The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) have issued advice to all members that they are to report to work as normal on the day of action and are encouraged, in their own time, to support the action of colleagues by attending demonstrations or signing petitions etc... either on or off hospital property
  • BMA Members who support the day of action are encouraged to offer their support by campaigning and lobbying to help raise awareness - e.g. by wearing stickers or badges, as well as recruiting colleagues, friends and family members to promote their message.
  • Some non-clinical members of staff (who do not belong to the above unions) may decide to strike, however it will not be apparent how many until the day of action itself.
  • The Trust has plans in place to deal with any disruption that may be caused as a result of the industrial action. Patient care and safety is our main priority.
  • Emergency care will not be affected by the industrial action and will continue as normal.
  • Planned procedures will continue to take place, though activity will be less than normal.

As always, patients should only visit the Emergency Department (A&E) with major illnesses or injuries. Please ensure that you only visit A&E if your condition cannot be treated by one of the following alternatives: NHS Direct (0845 4647), a pharmacist, your GP, or an NHS Walk-In-Centre.  

For more information on making the right choice of treatment, please visit: 


Evacuation exercise a success

Tuesday 22nd November 2011

A recent evacuation exercise which took place at the Countess was a great success.

The Trust is under a legal duty and a moral obligation to ensure the safety of all persons on Trust premises and property at all times.

The two primary pieces of legislation that the Trust must comply with are; The Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 and The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.

Reuben Bellis, Fire Safety Advisor, said: "Competence is part of good health and safety management. Someone having sufficient training with experience or knowledge to undertake the work required properly is competent. It is critical that in all emergency situations the Trust has sufficient staff with the requisite skills and knowledge to effectively deal with any incident that has the potential to seriously injure or incur fatalities, one such incident is 'fire'."

The exercise, which took place in September 2011 was designed to test the current evacuation procedure for Progressive Horizontal Evacuation (PHE).

Reuben said: "The evacuation was considered by all to be a success. The small number of learning outcomes identified are to be directed to specific departmental managers to address issues identified."

The Fire & Rescue Service - who are the enforcing authority for The Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 - described the planning, participation and efforts of all of those persons who took part in the major exercise as 'positive'.  


Bereavement service supported by trees

Wednesday 9th November 2011

The Countess of Chester Hospital is inviting members of the public to dedicate a light to a loved one at the annual Trees of Light ceremony which will also see their names being entered into a Book of Honour.

Memories and celebrations of loved ones will be lighting up the ceremony at the Trust's main entrance from 6pm on Friday 2nd December. Anyone who has lost a close friend or relative, whether or not they were patients at the hospital, is invited to take part in the event, as are people who would simply like to celebrate the life of a loved one.

Over the last year, the funds raised from the Trees of Light Appeal has enabled the Countess to provide a Bereavement and Counselling Service. During this time, almost 100 individual counselling sessions have taken place, while 30 people have contacted the service and have received telephone support, written correspondence with advice and help, as well as referrals to other services to meet their needs. This is all thanks to the funds raised from the Trees of Light Appeal.

Liz Taylor, Macmillan Support and Information Manager at the Countess, who also runs the bereavement and counselling service said: "This service has been very successful and has been entirely funded by the Trees of Light Appeal. Without this service, many people would have missed out on the help and support they needed and thankfully received as a result of Trees of Light. Hopefully it is a comforting thought for people who take apart in the event that honouring their loved one is also helping others."

Carolyn Davies, who used the bereavement service after her husband passed away, commented: "I was reluctant to take advantage of the service at first because you tell yourself you don't need help. The main benefit was having someone other than friends and family who just listens to what you have to say and lets you speak about what is on your mind. Your family and friends are there for you but sometimes it is comforting to have someone who is completely separate. It was a great help."

Fundraising Manager, Janet Ratcliffe, added: "The Trees of Light is such a special appeal and as well as helping others through the bereavement and counselling service which it funds, the event also gives people the chance to honour lost loved ones or to celebrate the life of a loved one at a special time of year."

If you would like to enter an application to have a loved one's name included in the Book of Honour, please contact the Trust's Fundraising department on 01244 366240 or visit the Fundraising Office to complete an application form before Monday 21st November.

Santa Dash 2011 - Run or walk 4km to raise funds for two very worthy local causes.

Wednesday 26th October 2011

Be part of something NEWand EXCITINGthis Christmas and take part in Chester's first ever SANTA DASH, run or walk 4km to raise funds for two very worthy local causes:

The Santa Dash is a festive family event open to all ages. Children aged 14 and under can enter the Santa Dash so long as they are accompanied by an adult.

The Santa Dash starts at 9:30am on Castle Drive, Chester (it will be well signposted) and registration will open from 8:30am. Please try to car share where possible. There will be a limited number of free parking spaces at the Roodee Car park, but you must vacate the car park by 12:00 noon.

How do I register?

Please send in your completed entry form and cheque to the Freepost address shown at the bottom of the application form. 

You will receive your sponsorship pack in the post within three weeks of entering. This pack will include event instructions (what to do, where to go, timing on the day) along with a Santa Suit collection card.

What does it cost?

The Chester Santa Dash costs £10 per person; your entry fee includes a Santa Suit, (Adults only) Reindeer antlers (Children Only) plus seasonal refreshments and a unique souvenir to mark your achievement.


We are encouraging people to raise as much money for the two causes as possible. If you manage to raise over £50 in sponsorship you will automatically be entered into a free prize draw to win: FAMILY BOWLING PASS, FAMILY CROCKY TRAIL PASS, ZOO TICKETS.


The Chester Santa Dash route is flat and circular so this could be the occasion you finally achieve your personal best - just make sure your beard and Santa trousers are safely secured before you start off!

Volunteers needed

We need over 50 volunteers to help at this event, if you are able to spare a couple of hours to volunteer please visit our website for more details of volunteer roles and register your interest.

Alternatively call the Hospice 01244 851811. The jobs we need help with include, registering walkers, giving out medals, marshalling the route and serving refreshments.

Santa/Reindeer collection

You can call into one of the following collection points to collect your
Santa Suit or Reindeer antlers from Monday 1st November up to 4pm on Thursday
9th December.


  • Hospice, Backford - 8:30am - 4pm (Mon-Fri)
  • Countess Fundraising Department - 8:30am - 4pm (Mon-Fri)
  • Whitby Hospice Shop, Chester Road - 9:30am - 4pm (Mon to Sat)
  • Northgate Street Hospice Shop - 9:30am - 4pm (Mon-Sat)
  • Faulkner Street Hospice Shop - 9:30am - 4pm (Mon - Sat)
  • Sutton Way Hospice Shop - 9:30am - 4pm (Mon-Sat)

Or you can collect your suit/antlers on the day of the event before 9am (Remember
to bring your collection Card).

Enter Online at


The Countess has received a 40Top Hospitals Award for the eleventh year in succession

Wednesday 26th October 2011

The Countess of Chester Hospital received a 40 Top Hospitals Award for the eleventh year in succession, one of only five Trusts in the country to achieve this. The awards have only been in existence for eleven years meaning that the Countess has successfully received the award every year since it was comprised in 2001.

The winners were announced by CHKS, the UK's leading independent provider of healthcare
intelligence and quality improvement services.

As well as individual awards for patient safety, quality of care and data quality, CHKS celebrates excellence amongst its clients across the UK with the 40Top Awards. These are based on the evaluation of 21 key performance indicators covering safety, clinical effectiveness, health outcomes, efficiency, patient experience and quality of care.

Dr Virginia Clough, the Trust's Medical Director, said: "This is the fourth successive year that I have had the privilege to collect this award on behalf of the Countess of Chester Hospital. In a difficult year of change and financial pressure we have still been recognised nationally as a top performing hospital."

She added: "I pay tribute to the hard work put in by all members of staff at the Countess. Of particular pleasure has been our sustained success in tackling Healthcare Associated Infections. The fact that we have not had a single case of MRSA Bacteraemia since June 2010 is one of our many achievements in the past year."

James Coles, Director of Research, CHKS, said: "We are delighted that the Countess of Chester Hospital is one of our 40Top Hospitals for 2011. These awards recognise outstanding performance in the areas which we believe are critical to delivering good patient care."


Trust presented with the prestigious UNICEF Baby Friendly Award

Wednesday 26th October 2011

Coronation Street actor Ian Puleston-Davies - who plays Owen in the popular soap - visited the Countess on Tuesday 25th October to present the Trust with the prestigious UNICEF Baby Friendly Award.

The Trust's Maternity Unit has been externally audited by UNICEF UK as part of a three-stage assessment and has achieved the Baby Friendly Initiative Award. Of the 32 hospitals in the North West only 10 are fully accredited with this prestigious award, putting the Countess among a select group of top performing Trusts.

The Baby Friendly Initiative is a worldwide programme of the World Health Organization and UNICEF. It was established in 1992 to encourage maternity hospitals to implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and to practise in accordance with the International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes.

The Baby Friendly Initiative works with the health care system to ensure a high standard of care for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers and babies. Support is provided for health care facilities that are seeking to implement recognised standards of best practice in the care of mothers and babies, an assessment and accreditation process recognises those that have achieved the required standard.

Congratulations to all the staff.


Macmillan centre opens - This excellent new centre offers help and support to people affected by cancer.

Wednesday 26th October 2011

The Countess of Chester Hospital officially opened its Macmillan Support and Information Centre recently which offers help and support to people affected by cancer, including those who are diagnosed with the illness as well as their family and friends.

People who have been affected by cancer joined the Trust's Executives, Trust Governors, members of the public, Macmillan staff and volunteers as well as Stephen Mosley (MP for The City of Chester), to celebrate the opening of the centre with a cutting of the ribbon. The event was also supported by a cake sale.

The new centre - which is based on the Countess' hospital site near to the main entrance - provides a purpose built base for the Macmillan Support and Information Service which started three years ago.  The service is open to anyone affected by cancer - including patients, their family and carers, the worried well and people who have completed their treatment. Macmillan Support and Information Manager, Liz Taylor said: "I am delighted to announce the opening of this excellent facility. This new centre builds on the amazing work that has gone on over the last three years within the Trust and it will benefit over 250,000 patients in the local area. We have already helped over 1000 people over the last four months by answering their questions and worries relating to cancer, such as the financial issues associated with a cancer diagnosis, the general impact of living with cancer, and how to find support locally. Over 70% of these people have been first-time users of the service which means we are reaching a whole new audience who need support like ours. Having this dedicated and comfortable space within the hospital means that we will be able to grow the service and reach even more people."

Former cancer patient, Helen Lucy, was guest of honour at the event and officially opened the centre. She commented: "When I was diagnosed with cancer I had no idea a service like the Macmillan Support and Information Service existed. All things go through your mind when you experience cancer and it affects you and your family deeply. Having a service like this to ask for support is extremely valuable through the cancer journey. This is a fantastic service and due to its prominent location in the hospital hopefully many people will make use of the support available. The facilities and the Macmillan team are all fantastic and I am privileged to cut the ribbon."

During a visit to the Countess, Stephen Mosley (MP for The City of Chester) was present at the opening and emphasised Helen's sentiments by congratulating the Trust on the opening of an excellent facility. The new building also acts as a resource centre for professionals involved in the care and management of cancer patients, and will provide generic information to those with other life limiting illnesses.

For any further information about the Macmillan Information Centre, please contact Macmillan Support and Information Manager, Liz Taylor on 01244 364948. 


The Trust recently underwent a £2m refurbishment programme to the Emergency Department

Wednesday 26th October 2011

As part of a two million pound investment programme for Emergency Medicine, the Trust recently underwent a refurbishment programme to the Emergency Department's Majors area which has added three cubicles and increased the resuscitation patient capacity from two to three.

The refurbishment work started in late 2010 and now the newly refurbished Majors area and the new resuscitation facility is fully operational.

Debbie Bryce, Business Performance Manager for the Acute Directorate at the Countess, said: "This refurbishment will improve the Emergency Department's environment for patient care and for staff. The staff are extremely pleased with the results of the work so far."

The final phase of the refurbishment programme - completed in August - included the refurbishment for the remaining parts of the Majors area.

Debbie added: "We will see real benefits to the clinical environment for patient care and for staff who work in this extremely busy department."

Although patients are set to see the benefits of these new facilities, the Emergency Department is still keen to encourage members of the public to use the Emergency Department wisely over the coming months. The Emergency Department (also known as A&E) is for life-threatening and serious conditions only.  The NHS's 'Choose Well' campaign highlights local GPs, walk-in centres, pharmacists, and NHS Direct as just some of the alternatives to A&E which are available to assist with minor conditions and illnesses. For
more information, please visit:


Meeting essential CQC standards of quality and safety for older people

Thursday 13th October 2011

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) today published a report into the standards of care that older people receive in hospital. The report found that the Countess of Chester Hospital is meeting both of the essential standards of quality and safety for older people.

Due to a number of Trust's under-performing, calls have been made for a system-wide response to combat the failings identified. Around half of the hospitals needed to do more to ensure that they were meeting people's needs - with twenty of the hospitals visited failing to meet essential standards required by law. However, the Countess was found to be fully compliant in all quality and safety areas for older people.

The review was part of an inspection programme to assess how well older people are treated during their hospital stay. In particular, the inspection focused on whether they were treated with dignity and respect and whether their nutritional needs were met.

Earlier this year an inspection team visited the Trust's Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) and Ward 53 (Tower Ward), to observe how people were being cared for by speaking to patients and staff during the visit.

The investigation centred around two outcomes. The first outcome stated that 'People should be treated with respect, involved in discussions about their care and treatment and able to influence how the service is run.' The second outcome stated that 'Food and drink should meet people's individual dietary needs.' It was found that the Countess is meeting both of these essential standards.

According to the report, all of the patients who inspectors talked to said their needs were met and that they were given information and encouraged to take part in drawing up their plan of care and felt confident that if they didn't understand anything they could ask for further explanation.

Director of Nursing, Quality and Environment, Gaynor Hales, said: "I am extremely pleased with the Trust's performance and this indicates the excellent standard of care provided by all members of staff to patients. We aim to treat every single patient as an individual with respect and dignity, as well as catering for basic needs and requirements. Thanks to the effort of our staff, this report demonstrates that we are among the best Trusts in the country for providing such care."


Duke of Westminster opens Parent Unit

Tuesday 11th October 2011

His Grace the Duke of Westminster visited the Countess of Chester Hospital today to open a newly refurbished facility for parents of sick children being treated on the Children's Unit.

The Duke was accompanied by the Trust's Chief Executive, Peter Herring and Chairman, Sir Jim Sharples, along with many members of staff and members of the community to see the opening of Christopher Wing.

Christopher Wing was originally opened in 1998 following the tireless fundraising of Tim and Gill Worrall. The wing was named after Mr and Mrs Worrall's son Christopher, who sadly died in 1994 of a brain tumour while being treated on the Children's Ward. Throughout their time at the hospital, Tim and Gill felt that it needed a designated space where families could go to rest or to simply have some quiet time but still be close by to their children at all times. As a result, Mr and Mrs Worrall helped raise funds to open the Christopher Wing in 1998.

Since then the wing has required further modernisation and improvements and the Chester Childbirth Appeal recently donated almost £90,000 towards refurbishing it. It was refurbished in response to feedback from parents who suggested that parent accommodation and facilities needed to be improved. Space was made available through the refurbishment, it was made more easily accessible and welcoming, and the overall facilities in the kitchens and bathrooms have been completely modernised. A 'Quiet Room' was also built for counselling parents and for breaking sensitive news in private.

While unveiling the new facility, His Grace the Duke of Westminster, said: "As a parent myself I understand the importance of this facility and I am very impressed with it. I want to pay tribute to Mr and Mrs Worrall who originally provided this facility, and the Chester Childbirth Appeal."

Founder of the Chester Childbirth Appeal, Mrs Pat Daniels MBE, added: "We are very grateful to His Grace the Duke of Westminster for sparing the time from his busy schedule to come and open the Christopher Wing. The Chester Childbirth Appeal celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. During that time it has raised over £1m, which has been spent on amenities and facilities to benefit the women and children attending the Countess of Chester Hospital."


Annual Members' Meeting - 4th October 2011

Tuesday 11th October 2011

The Trust's Annual Members' Meeting is taking place from 5pm on Tuesday 4th October 2011 at the Countess of Chester Hospital. This is an opportunity to meet staff and see examples of the developments and achievements made during the last year.

During the meeting there will be updates on topics such as quality, financial accounts, and service developments. There will also be time for people to speak with staff from across the Trust about the progress being made and to view display stands with details about a number of Trust services.

Trust Secretary, Stephen Cross, commented: "The Annual Members' Meeting is a great way for the public and Trust Members to meet with staff from their local hospital and learn more about the progress and improvements which have taken place over the last year. It also gives an opportunity to hear the views of Trust members and the public."

The meeting will be held at the Countess of Chester Hospital's Education and Training Centre and will start at 5pm. All are welcome, so please come along to find out about the progress your local hospital is making.

There is no need to register or book a place, just simply put the date in your diary and turn up on the day.

For further information about any aspect of the Annual Members' Meeting, please email: or call: 01244 365 816.

For people attending the event, there will be no charge for car parking. 


Local mums are Bosom Buddies

Wednesday 13th April 2011

A group of 17 local mums, completed training to become breastfeeding peer supporters known as 'Bosom Buddies'.

These mums, who have previously breastfed their own babies, wanted to help and support other mothers to do the same and are now committed to improving support for breastfeeding mothers.

The training is provided by Janet Beech (Infant Feeding Co-ordinator) and Linda Gendler (Midwifery Support Worker) at the Countess of Chester Hospital, using the La Leche League training programme. The La Leche League is an international organisation helping women to breastfeed in over 65 countries through a network of mother-to-mother support.

Infant Feeding Co-ordinator, Janet Beech, said: "The training programme includes all aspects of getting infant feeding off to a good start, enabling the Bosom Buddies to give mothers the right support and encouragement to feed their babies and helping mums make breastfeeding work - in day to day living and when they are out and about."

After completing the training, the Bosom Buddies will provide mother-to-mother support in hospital and community settings in and around Chester.

Amanda Rowlands, a newly qualified Bosom Buddy, said: "After the birth of my second child I knew I wanted to breastfeed as I had done with my first child. The first few days were very different with my second child compared to the first, I just assumed that everything would be straight forward. I received some one-to-one support from a Bosom Buddy on the hospital ward, without this support  I received around hand expressing and correct position and attachment I would have not had been able to establish successful breastfeeding and I would have had to artificially feed my baby."
She added: "The support I received from Bosom Buddies at the breast feeding support group was fantastic, I picked up some really useful hints and tips following the birth of my first child, I was able to successfully express milk so I was able to return to university when my baby was only 18 days old. This made all the difference to me as I was able to continue exclusively breastfeeding while returning to university. This also gave my husband an opportunity to feed my baby expressed breast milk from a bottle; this made him feel very involved with feeding my baby. I have recently graduated as a Bosom Buddy, I feel that lots of new mums need support in the first few weeks to establish successful breastfeeding and without volunteer peer supporters then this essential support may not be offered to mums."
Each of the newly qualified mum's were presented with a certificate by Irene Finney of Dee 106.3 at a graduation event on 11th April in the Countess of Chester Hospital's Education & Training Centre.


Sessions to help people with diabetes

Monday 28th March 2011

The Countess of Chester Hospital is running group sessions for people with Type 2 diabetes.Diabetes Essentialsis a specifically designed education programme for people diagnosed with diabetes.

Diabetes Essentials is targeted at people with newly diagnosed or existing Type 2 diabetes. These sessions give people the chance to learn more about diabetes management and will allow the time and opportunity to learn from a health professional specialising in diabetes who will present information in a simple and easy to understand way. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet other people with diabetes and learn from their experiences as well as ask questions to everyone present at the sessions. Leaflets on all subjects covered will be provided during the sessions.

There will be general information included to explain what diabetes actually is, the different types of diabetes, monitoring and managing diabetes, the prevention of long-term health problems, healthy eating, physical activity, foot care, as well coping skills for dealing with diabetes in everyday life. People attending are welcome to bring one other person with them - the person that does the shopping and cooking in the household, if not the person with diabetes, is particularly encouraged to attend.

Sarah Fitzgerald, Diabetes Specialist Dietician, said: "This is an excellent opportunity for anyone who has, or is affected by diabetes to learn more and gain valuable information about various aspects of dealing with the challenges it entails."

The sessions are approximately 2½ hours in duration and are delivered by a qualified health professional, currently a registered dietitian, and are open to people from theWestern Cheshirearea. They run twice a week with two monthly evening sessions being provided. Venues are; The Cheshire County Sports Club (Plas Newton Lane, Chester), Cheshire County Sports Clubhouse (Mannings Lane North, Chester) and the Masonic lodge, Orchard Suite (Chester Road, Ellesmere Port). All venues have free car parking and frequent bus services. Days for each venue vary but morning sessions are 9.30am - 12.00pm, afternoon sessions are 2pm - 4.30pm, and evening sessions take place between 5.00pm - 7.30pm.

This is a self referral service and patients should contact the appointment line directly.

If you would like to attend one of the sessions please call Therapy Services on 01244 363 230 or if you would like more information please email


Innovative new breast unit leads the way

Tuesday 22nd March 2011

The Countess of Chester Hospital recently unveiled its new Breast Screening Unit at an opening event to promote the changes that have been taking place recently, namely the complete transfer to digital imaging for breast screening.

The Ursula Keyes Breast Screening Unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital is one of the first breast screening units in Cheshire and Merseyside to make a complete changeover from analogue to digital imaging, exceeding the standards set by the Department of Health for the NHS by the end of 2010. The change has been made possible thanks to joint funding from the Countess of Chester Hospital who invested over £500,000 for the cost of the digital equipment and NHS Western Cheshire Primary Care Trust who will be funding the ongoing running costs to provide a fully digital service to patients in Chester and the surrounding areas.  The Trust's Breast Screening Unit also had to satisfy rigorous quality control standards to prove it was ready to implement the latest digital imaging technology. This became fully operational on 1st December 2010.

The unit has also seen the installation of Visual Art Therapy. The Visual Art Therapy has been an ongoing project for the past year and provides nature-based digital art films to the clients and patients who use the Breast Unit. The aim of this visual therapy project is to create areas that are naturally welcoming and peaceful to help reduce stress and anxiety.

Joe Gildea, of the Ship Victory Pub, whose fundraising efforts in recent years have helped to raise £86,500 for the Breast Care Unit, was the guest of honour at the opening. He said: "I'd like to say congratulations to everyone involved in the opening of this unit. It's a privilege and an honour to be here today. We describe the Ship Victory pub as 'the little pub with a big heart' but it's actually more accurate to say that is a little pub of people with big hearts. There are too many people to thank individually for helping to raise £86,500 for this unit over the years, but the reason why people are so generous with their time and money is because this unit provides such an important service and everyone will know or know of someone who has been treated here. The staff in the unit are the best at what they do and they provide an invaluable service. They are people of great worth."

Consultant Radiologist on the Unit, Dr Amr Hamid, commented: "Over the past 12 months major funding and huge efforts have been poured into this unit. Two brand new digital mammographic imaging machines with biopsy facility have been placed in our unit and we have also purchased two new breast ultrasound machines. All this new state of the art equipment will improve the imaging quality and therefore enhance our diagnostic accuracy to detect breast cancer at an earlier stage.  We have also installed visual art therapy in all mammography and ultrasound rooms as well as in all waiting areas to try to reduce patients stress and anxiety."

After installing the mammography digital equipment, the Breast Screening Unit was able to start breast screening age extension in December 2010, as part of the Nationally Randomised Trial.  This means that the Trust will continue to invite women aged 50 - 70, whilst those aged 47 - 50 and 70 - 73 will receive a randomised appointment according to the trial. The Trust is also one of the first breast screening units in the entire North West to go fully digital and implement age extension.

Dr Hamid added: "This has been an enormous team effort and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in bringing this unit to where it is now. There are also countless local individuals and charities who have given generously over the years to supply equipment and provide general support who I would like to thank today. A special thank you goes to the Angela Gildea charity foundation who have funded the visual art therapy installation in our unit and several other pieces of equipment over the past years."


Stoma care open day

Monday 14th March 2011

The Countess of Chester Hospital is holding an open day at Ellesmere Port Civic Hall to show the advances in treatment for stoma care patients.

Stoma Nurses Julie Clements and Maria Brown are holding an Open Day at Ellesmere Port Civic Hall on Wednesday 23rd March 2011.  All stoma patients from Chester, Deeside and Ellesmere Port area are invited to the event which is taking place between 1.30 - 5.30pm.

An abdominal stoma can be formed for a number of reasons including; bowel diseases such as Cancer, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohns, Diverticular disease, Fistulas or bladder disease. Many will be temporary but generally those with bladder disease will have a permanent stoma.

All the major appliance manufacturers will be at the event to show the latest improvements in stoma care and the most up-to-date products and accessories will also be on display.

Maria Brown, Advanced Practitioner in Stoma Care, said: "People who attended last year's event commented that it was great to be able to talk to manufacturers about the range of products and to have the chance to offer suggestions on how they could be improved.  This year there will be a talk from a Dietician.  There will also be complimentary therapy available for stoma patients, an Indian head massage and reflexology."

Visitors will be able to find out about the Stoma Social Support Group which meets every three months and they can also talk to a 'Stoma Buddy'.

The open day is part of the continuing care the Countess of Chester Hospital provides to stoma patients. For more information on this event please contact Maria Brown on 01244 366 170.