Completion date revealed for new Women and Children's Building
Work is well under way on The Countess of Chester Hospital’s brand new Women and Children’s Building (WCB), which is on track to open to the public in summer 2025.
Construction work officially started in June on the £110m three-storey facility, which will replace the existing Women and Children’s Building that has been in use since 1971, and the occasion was marked with a special breaking ground ceremony.
Patients, including new parents, families and children, joined members of the hospital’s clinical team, construction workers and the project team as builders officially placed the first spade in the ground.
Work has progressed well over the past few months, with two large cranes currently visible in the hospital grounds. These will remain on site until next summer and enable the construction process to be completed more swiftly and on track for opening in two years’ time.
The exciting development comes as The Trust has been allocated £110m funding from the National RAAC Programme which replaces buildings containing the Re-enforced Autoclaved Aeriated Concrete that will be eliminated from construction use by 2025.
Services currently housed in the existing Women and Children’s Building will all move into the new development – including maternity, neonatal, paediatrics and gynaecology – which will provide increased capacity and additional modern rest spaces for patients, families and staff all to enjoy.
The new building will feature a brand new ground floor full delivery suite for 11 births, with two Obstetric theatres and a first floor maternity ward with 24 single bedrooms, as well as en-suite bathrooms that have been specially designed to promote accessibility.
A neonatal unit with up to 16 cots will occupy the ground floor, while the second floor houses a new Children’s Ward, complete with access to overnight accommodation for patients, as well as increased rest facilities for hospital staff.
The ambitious project, is being clinically led with support from Integrated Health Projects (IHP), a joint venture between building companies VINCI Building and Sir Robert McAlpine, reflecting the Trust’s ambition to provide the highest quality care for patients and their families, using state-of-the-art technology and infrastructure to enhance treatment options for the local community and wider region.
Around 2,300 expectant families from Chester, Ellesmere Port and surrounding areas including North Wales are currently supported by maternity services at the Countess.
Project lead Joan Carter said: “It is so exciting to mark the official start of work on the new Women and Children’s Building.
“This represents a hugely positive development for the Trust that will enable a step-change in how we provide families with the highest levels of care and treatment, while supporting our wider ambition to tackle health inequalities in our region.”
Dr Sara Brigham, Associate Medical Director for Women and Children’s Division, added:
“Having worked with the clinical team to design this building from the ground up to meet the needs of the families who will use it for years to come, it is incredibly exciting to break ground.
“I’m really looking forward to caring for and treating patients in this facility in the near future.”
Garry Bowker, IHP Regional Managing Director said: “I am so proud to be part of such a fantastic new project. There has been lots of activity on site, and we are already starting to see excellent progress being made.
“The new Women and Children’s development will be a great asset for Chester and its surrounding areas, bringing significant employment and training opportunities to the area, and ultimately leaving a positive legacy for the local community.”
And Tim Holliday, Managing Director for CCL Solutions who are providing Project Management services for the Trust, added: “It’s fantastic to reach this significant milestone in the project and a testament to the collaborative working shown by the team and wider stakeholders.
“We are looking forward to delivering this quality new facility with our partners that will have a significant impact on delivering improved patient experiences and outcomes.”