Health and Wellbeing Board backs plans to renovate hospital services in west Hertfordshire

West Herts Hospitals Trust and Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group are holding board meetings

West Herts Hospitals Trust and Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group are holding board meetings on the future of hospitals in west Herts. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

Hertfordshire’s Health and Wellbeing Board has backed plans to focus a bid for major investment on Watford General Hospital.

The West Herts Hospitals Trust (WHHT) and the Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (HVCCG) intend to bid for £350 million of NHS funding later this year to improve services in west Herts.

Both boards have ruled out a new hospital, but will not formally decide the option which will form the basis of their funding bid until July. Earlier this month they agreed on an 'emerging way forward' - where three sites would be retained and the bulk of the investment would be concentrated on Watford General.

In a meeting on Thursday, June 20, their preferred option was formally endorsed by the Herts Health and Wellbeing Board, which brings together elected officials and staff from the NHS, adult social care and children's services, public health and the police.

Board chairman Cllr Richard Roberts, the county council's executive member for adult care and health, said it is important that emergency and specialist services at Watford General are "as good as they can be".

He said: "I think what you have put before us does give us confidence that there will be better, safer services at the end of it."

The preferred way forward would see two new clinical buildings at Watford General and enhanced facilities and services at St Albans City and Hemel Hempstead.

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Under this option £298 million would be invested at Watford General, with the remaining £52 million shared between the St Albans and Hemel Hempstead sites.

When asked about the funding, WHHT's deputy chief executive Helen Brown said that even with additional funding they would still have opted for the current plan, however they may have considered the addition of a single planned care centre if more funds were available.

St Albans district councillor Teresa Heritage, the county council's executive member for children, families and young people, acknowledged every community would like its own new hospital, but said: "Actually providing something in each of the major towns goes a long way to listening to what residents want."

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