Board meetings to consider future of hospitals in west Hertfordshire

PUBLISHED: 09:47 11 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:47 11 July 2019

St Albans City Hospital. Photo: Danny Loo.

St Albans City Hospital. Photo: Danny Loo.

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Meetings are being held today to consider the plans for the future of hospitals in west Herts.

West Herts Hospitals Trust (WHHT) and Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (HVCCG) are holding two separate board meetings to consider the draft strategic outline case (SOC) for transforming hospital sites in Watford, St Albans and Hemel Hempstead.

The draft SOC will make the case for the trust and the CCG's preferred option, known as 'option one', which is to renovate existing hospital sites rather than build a new A&E hospital central to west Herts. This option provides the greatest amount of investment in Watford General Hospital, with some refurbishments and enhancements at St Albans City and Hemel Hempstead.

Some campaigners, however, continue to argue that a new hospital in a central location would better serve the growing population. WHHT and HVCCG previously ruled out building a new hospital after being given a £350 million spending limit by the government.

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Campaigner Andy Love said: "St Albans City Hospital has been drastically reduced in size since its heyday as an A&E hospital, and is in desperate need of far more than the £38 million of funding on offer within option one.

"St Albans residents will know that in emergencies and for many of their appointments/treatment/surgery they will be taken to Watford General Hospital, which will be the scene of major reconstruction for many years if the trust get their way. Residents needing to attend Watford General who are without a car face a long journey by bus and having to change in Watford town centre. Once at the hospital, patients and visitors have to cope with the steep gradient that the hospital is built on, and for the disabled and elderly this is a real challenge."

WHHT is holding a meeting from 9am to 10.30am at the Executive Meeting Room in the Restaurant at Watford General Hospital.

HVCCG will meet from 2pm to 4pm at Stanborough Centre, 609 St Albans Road, Watford.

To view the SOC go to westhertshospitals.nhs.uk/about/strategicoutlinecase.asp or hertsvalleysccg.nhs.uk/future-plans/your-care-your-future/developing-hospital-services

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