Campaigners call for new hospital near St Albans to mimic services elsewhere

Watford General Hospital

Watford General Hospital - Credit: Archant

A campaigner for a new hospital central to St Albans, Watford and Dacorum has written to local NHS bosses imploring them to follow the model set by other hospital trusts.

Andy Love, of the New Hospital Campaign, wrote to NHS Improvement, Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (HVCCG) and West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust (WHHT), urging them to follow the example of the new Midland Metropolitan acute care services hospital, which is currently being built for Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospital Trust.

The letter said: “The SWBH Trust has identified that a new state-of-the-art acute services hospital is the best long-term solution for the area they serve.

“They have also retained a number of their current sites so that the acute services hospital will not be overburdened or congested with non-emergency traffic.”

Members of the New Hospital Campaign believe that renovating services at Watford General Hospital, in Vicarage Road, (pictured), will not be enough to meet the needs of the population.

Andy said: “WHHT’s fixation of keeping all acute services in Vicarage Road will, in my opinion, not lead to a satisfactory transformation of care that WHHT currently provides, nor will it meet the needs of the west Herts population.

“Redevelopment of existing hospital sites in isolation will take too long, will cost too much, not achieve sufficient modernisation, will not give us an A&E Hospital central to the community it serves, will cause great disruption over more than a decade and will probably need replacing as the population in west Herts soars by 150,000 in the next 15 years.”

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Campaigners had a chance to question NHS bosses at a series of public meeting in October.

A WHHT spokeswoman said: “We are currently working towards having an agreed way forward for hospital redevelopment in west Herts.

“The preferred option will be identified following further analysis and we will also continue to gather the views of local people and clinicians throughout the process.

“While we have looked at models for planned and emergency care from around the country, our decisions will be based on the needs of our local population and how we can best meet these within the funding threshold.”