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Countess of Chester A&E upgrade boost

NOTE: This content is old - Published: Tuesday, Mar 26th, 2019.

Countess of Chester bosses hope they can get back on track with the hospital’s £2 million A&E expansion following the collapse of constructors Clovemead.

The Warrington-based firm had been working on the site since December until administrators were brought in earlier this month.

But at Tuesday’s board meeting, Dr Susan Gilby, the newly-appointed chief executive at Countess of Chester NHS Trust, moved to reassure members.

She explained that Clovemead had been working on the first phase of the A&E’s redevelopment – and that the contractor that was already in line to begin work in the second phase will now take over.

“You will have seen headlines about our emergency department development and the fact that unfortunately our contractor has gone into administration,” Dr Gilbey told the board.

“That has not really put the work at risk and it will continue – mainly because it was the first of a three-phase improvement to our emergency department, and we had already identified a partner to develop and construct the second phase through a national NHS procurement system called P22.

“We have identified a builder to use – the same one to phase two – so in terms of financial governance and procurement, that has been addressed.

“The team has been on site and we are optimistic that work can get back on track very, very quickly.”

NHS figures show that A&E attendances at the Countess have risen by more than 10,000 since 2012-13 – with a total of 78,826 in 2017-18.

Countess chiefs hope the bigger A&E department will boost capacity and, in turn, give patients a better experience.

The 400sq m expansion is set to include a new entrance, waiting area, children’s area, ambulance bay and canopy, while the car park will gain 81 spaces.

Meanwhile, Dr Gilbey also told the board that enabling work has begun on the Countess’ new neo-natal unit, after the trust gained planning permission for the development last December.

She added: “That is becoming very real now and we are extremely grateful to the community for supporting us in that – both by raising the money and helping us to get planning permission.”

Stephen Topping Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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