Future plans for hospitals serving St Albans district coming under scrutiny at meeting

PUBLISHED: 17:00 22 November 2016

St Albans City Hospital

St Albans City Hospital

Archant

Major proposals involving hospitals serving the St Albans district are to be the subject of a public meeting in the council offices at the end of the month.

It will be hosted by the St Albans and Harpenden Patients Group (SPAG) at 7pm on Wednesday, November 30, in committee room one of the Civic Centre in St Peter’s Street.

The Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is leading the review with the West Herts Hospitals Trust (WHHT) and they will present their plans at the meeting.

They have completed the first phase of the review entitled Your Care, Your Future which looks at options for enhancing emergency and acute care.

The preferred option is for emergency and specialised care to be carried out at Watford General while planned care and diagnostic work taking place at St Albans City.

Despite strong support from other parts of West Herts, particularly Dacorum, for the building of a new hospital at a central location, that looks unlikely to proceed.

It was backed by St Albans district councillors but they recognised that funding might not be available and wanted to ensure that City Hospital featured prominently in any future plans.

Final decisions will have to be agreed at a national level given the amount of investment required.

NHS Improvement, NHS England and the Treasury will review the plans, submitted as part of a Sustainability and Transformation Plan for Hertfordshire and west Essex.

Among the aims of Your Care, Your Future is reducing the number of hospital visits by 40 per cent by 2024 with patients cared for closer to their homes.

John Wigley, chair of SPAG, said: “This meeting will focus on some of the biggest developments ever to be made in health services in the area.

“I am hoping it will be very well attended because I am sure many local people will want to hear what is being proposed and hold our health leaders to account.”

Cllr Robert Donald, chair of St Albans district health and wellbeing partnership, an umbrella organisation that seeks to improve local services, urged as many people as possible to go along to the meeting and raise any issues.

He said: “Very important decisions about the district’s health services that will affect people for decades to come are about to be made. It is vital that residents are fully aware of what is at stake and what is being put forward so they can comment now before it is too late.

“This meeting will give residents an opportunity to be fully briefed about the proposals for improving our hospital services which have come under a lot of strain in recent years.

“It also gives people the chance to ask any questions they may have and let their voice be heard whether they agree or not with the clinical commissioning group’s preferred option.”

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Recently we, as a family (minus two of the kids), visited The Lodge RSPB reserve in Sandy, Bedfordshire. I had never been before, which is perhaps amiss of me as a birdwatcher as it is the headquarters of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds or RSPB and only 45 minutes drive from home.

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