Call a halt

PUBLISHED: 11:10 22 January 2009 | UPDATED: 13:51 06 May 2010

SIR, — The West Herts Hospitals Trust (WHHT) proposes to continue with the closure of Hemel Hempstead Hospital s acute service and operating theatres by March, without even replacing the lost beds. Yet the WHHT has acknowledged the strong possibility that

SIR, - The West Herts Hospitals Trust (WHHT) proposes to continue with the closure of Hemel Hempstead Hospital's acute service and operating theatres by March, without even replacing the lost beds.

Yet the WHHT has acknowledged the strong possibility that they may not be able to raise enough PFI money, or any, to build the planned new hospital in Watford because of the credit crunch. Why, therefore, do they continue with their anti-social scheme?

Unlike other hospital trusts, such as Milton Keynes and the Luton and Dunstable, who admit they have to increase, not cut, services if they are to serve the needs of their respective communities, the WHHT seem unconcerned and indeed uninterested in anything other than reducing their expenditure on patients and hands-on staff, regardless of need.

They are also scorning the Sustainable Communities Act of Parliament by harming the communities, by increasing the need for longer ambulance and car journeys, by ignoring the forthcoming population growth, by ignoring the elderly and by ignoring the difficulties of access to the inconveniently-situated and overcrowded Watford Hospital.

We, the public, have never been consulted on the sudden closure of Hemel's excellent maternity unit or the special-care baby unit or the recent birthing centre, contrary to NHS rules. Nor have the promises in Investing in Your Health been honoured.

Surely the Department of Health and the East of England Strategic Health Authority cannot support the third-class, contemptuous treatment of residents. Justified peaceful protest is our right in a democracy and we should not be ignored. We should be listened to as we were until 2003 and should be again now.

B. HARRIS,

pp ZENA BULMORE,

Chair, Dacorum Hospital Action Group.

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