Former Coronation Street actor Ian Puleston-Davies said it was ‘a huge honour’ to officially open the new staff well-being hub at the Countess of Chester Hospital.

The opening comes as the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust marks Mental Health Awareness Week with a range of events based out of the hub aimed at bolstering staff’s physical, mental and financial well-being.

Ian, a strong advocate for mental health due to his own battle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, was the guest of honour at a ribbon cutting ceremony held to open the new facility.

The new hub offers all Trust staff a comfortable and accessible breakout space where they can take time out when needed and access to mental health and well-being support 24/7.

The Trust’s dedicated staff well-being team will be available regularly to provide one-to-one well-being support from within the hub, and a calendar of workshops will be on offer for staff to access on topics including stress management, carers support and mental health awareness.

The hub, which has been funded through legacy gifts left in wills to the Countess Charity, is part of the Trust’s new well-being strategy, aimed at promoting the welfare of its people.

Officially opening the hub, Ian, who lives in Chester and is best known for his former role as builder Owen Armstrong in the ITV soap, said he was thrilled to be asked to open the new hub at his local hospital, which he praised for the care he and his family have received in the past.

He said: “The care this hospital has shown my family means I am a huge advocate of the Countess [of Chester] and I think the people of Cheshire and nearby are so lucky to have this hospital.

“It is a huge honour to open this wonderful new facility that will benefit staff and the important work they do. Mental health is so important so it’s great that all the staff have somewhere like this to take some time out when they need to.”


Well-being manager Gareth Siggee.

Well-being manager Gareth Siggee.


Explaining more about the hub, Gareth Siggee, the Trust’s well-being manager, said he believes the space will be a great asset to staff as a place to drop in, rest and recharge and get one-to-one support.

“The psychological well-being of staff impacts our ability to provide world-class care to patients, so we hope that the hub will play a crucial role in everything that we are striving to do to improve our services for patients, as well as being a local employer of choice.” he said.

Whilst there are existing break areas for staff in different locations across the hospital site, there has not been a dedicated permanent space for staff well-being until now.

With NHS estimated to care for 1m patients every 36 hours, well-being has a strong connection to the productivity of the NHS workforce – highlighted in a report by the Royal College of Physicians on why staff health matters to patient care.

Providing safe, sustainable, patient-centred care is critically dependent on a healthy and engaged workforce with good mental and physical well-being which can reap significant benefits including improved patient experience and safety, reduced costs and professional and personal benefits for NHS staff.

Jane Tomkinson, CEO of the Trust, added: “I am delighted to welcome Ian to our new well-being hub – he is an excellent advocate for mental health and it is poignant that we have opened the doors during Mental Health Awareness Week.

“We have listened to our staff who have told us that well-being is extremely important to them and we have designed this hub based on their feedback, to give them a designated space to learn, seek support or get advice.

“I am passionate about well-being and about supporting our Countess team to manage their physical and mental health so that they can provide the best possible care to our patients and their families.”