St Albans MP reacts to new hospitals probe

St Albans MP Daisy Cooper

St Albans MP Daisy Cooper has called on the government to finally release long-awaited funds for the Watford hospital project so it can finally get underway. - Credit: Daisy Cooper's office

St Albans MP Daisy Cooper has reacted with horror to the news that the government's spending watchdog is to launch a probe into Boris Johnson's claim 40 new hospitals will be built by 2030 - highlighting the dire situation faced locally.

The independent National Audit Office (NAO) has raised concerns over the Conservative Party's 2019 manifesto promise to build entirely new hospitals, when in reality many are refurbishments or extensions to existing ones.

That includes Watford General, subject to a £1 billion plan by bosses at West Herts Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust to rebuild it on the existing Vicarage Road site and refurbish existing hospitals at St Albans and Hemel Hempstead.

It comes in the third cohort of bids being considered by the NHS ‘New Hospital Programme’, and has been dogged by repeated calls for the trust to consider the building of a single new hospital on a greenfield site.

Action group the New Hospital Campaign (NHC) has said this is a better option than spending money on Watford, Hemel and St Albans City, but the trust has refused to backdown on its preferred plan.

Daisy responded to the NAO investigation and called on the government to finally release long-awaited funds for the Watford hospital project so it can finally get underway.

She told the Herts Ad: “This financial probe into the Prime Minister’s hospital building pledge is very alarming and suggests that the Conservatives' number one manifesto promise isn’t worth the paper it was written on. 

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“The hospitals serving St Albans residents are in dire need of repair: parts of Watford General are literally crumbling down and first-class streamlined diagnostic and treatment services are long overdue at St Albans City. 

“I have been pressing the government to release the funds required to kickstart our local hospital transformation project for months, and want to see a timeline for this before MPs break up for summer recess. Any failure to deliver on improvements to our hospitals would be a total betrayal.”