£1 million windfall for St Albans Hospital surgery unit
PUBLISHED: 12:00 05 April 2015
Health chiefs have backed a £1 million boost to surgery services at St Albans Hospital - but there are still calls for it to be upgraded to an urgent care centre.
A spokeswoman for West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust said £700,000 was being spent moving and improving the ward where patients were cared for after surgery, with construction due to be completed by June.
That includes opening a number of high dependency beds to allow the unit to treat more patients.
In May, work begins on a new £200,000 centralised admissions lounge where patients will wait prior to having day surgery, with pre-assessment clinics available to help reduce the number of cancelled operations.
Medical director Dr Mike van der Watt said: “St Albans Hospital is the official home of day surgery at our [three] hospitals and we receive great feedback from patients about the care and support they receive there.
“This new investment has many benefits including speeding up the time it takes patients to be seen and be operated on. Patients will also be looked after in a more modern environment.
“We will also be able to expand the number of patients we can treat on a day-case basis, which will help take the pressure off our other hospitals, in particular Watford.”
St Albans parliamentary candidates Anne Main (Con) and Sandy Walkington (Lib Dem) welcomed the news.
But a note of caution was sounded by Mr Walkington who said that as the city’s hospital had been on the receiving end of “more than its fair share in past rounds of NHS cuts” its minor injuries unit should be upgraded to an urgent care centre.
He asked: “Why should St Albans be a poor relation of Welwyn Garden City and Hemel Hempstead which both have urgent care centres?
“Even more surgery could be conducted at St Albans. And the Waverley Road site needs to be clearly designated as a community hub with as many out-patient clinics as possible to save local residents trekking to Watford, Hemel or Stevenage.”
Mrs Main said expansion of the day surgery unit “shows confidence in the future of our health services in St Albans. I very much welcome this investment.”