A MAJOR extension to the Countess of Chester Hospital will be completed early next year.

Work on the £11m project began in February and the new two-storey building was due to be finished by the beginning of November.

But hospital bosses have now confirmed the ‘end date’ has been extended as the extension will now include a new dedicated endoscopy unit on the ground floor.

The new wing – being built to the rear of the Liverpool Road hospital – will also include an ultra-modern 21-bed intensive care unit (ICU) for seriously ill patients.

Once completed, the unit will greatly improve services, particularly for the families of patients being cared for in the critical care unit.

Developers Vinci Construction expect to complete the building work before Easter 2014 and are confident the project will come in under budget.

Chester MP Stephen Mosley visited the hospital and was given a tour of the construction site.

He said: “Even at this early stage you can see how impressive the new ICU building will be.

“I’m impressed that there has been so much staff input into the design of this building.

“This sort of partnership has to be encouraged.”

He continued: “I can’t wait to see the building working for patients and, as an MP who is ever-mindful of public finances, I do like to be told that is ahead of time and under-budget.”

The extension is part of a major programme of improvements to the hospital which will be rolled out over the next three years.

Dr Santokh Singh, lead clinician for critical care at the Countess, said: “I strongly support the new build of the critical care unit.

“The patient population that we serve presents us with ever-increasing challenges in the form of complex and serious illnesses.

“They deserve a modern facility so that we can offer, all who need it, state-of-the-art’medical and nursing care which is often life-changing and for many life-saving.”