The chief executive at the Countess of Chester Hospital has recognised a police investigation into increased mortality rates among higher risk babies has been ‘challenging’ for staff.

Tony Chambers addressed the issue in his latest blog when he also chose to praise the workforce for reflecting ‘our values of being safe, kind and effective’.

Back in May, Cheshire Constabulary announced it was launching a probe in relation to a ‘greater number of baby deaths and collapses than normally expected during the period of June 2015 and June 2016’.

Tony Chambers, chief executive of Countess of Chester.

In his latest blog concerning issues facing the hospital, Mr Chambers commented: “This period of change and winter pressures also arrive this year with the backdrop of the on-going police investigation into our neonatal unit, which we continue to do all we can to support.

"I recognise how challenging this has been for all staff and I want to thank them for all their hard work and dedication.

“I know a lot of them live locally, this is their hospital as well as their place of work and they care deeply about the Countess.

“We need to show compassion for one another as a tight-knit community. I believe that is our greatest strength and support is always there for anyone who needs it.”

The Countess of Chester Hospital
The Countess of Chester Hospital

And Mr Chambers pointed to anonymous feedback praising staff which read: “The friendliness of the staff is incredible and they go above and beyond to make sure that we have everything we need. Their level of expertise is amazing.”

He reflected: “We don’t know the story behind it, but the patient/relative has clearly been touched by our care during a period of increased vulnerability. The statement epitomises our values of being safe, kind and effective in every way.”

He added: “I can’t stop reading and re-reading it – smiling every time.”

A hospital spokeswoman confirmed the police investigation was ongoing.