New hospital could be delayed until 2028
Matthew Smith Local Democracy Reporter
- Credit: Danny Loo
A new hospital on the site of Watford General may be delayed until 2028, it has emerged.
The West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust has drawn up plans for the new hospital, as part of a scheme to retain and redevelop three existing sites in Watford, St Albans and Hemel Hempstead.
They had initially hoped that work could start at Watford next year for a 2025 completion, but it now seems construction may not even start until September 2024.
But despite a promise of funds by Prime Minister Boris Johnson the trust is yet to be allocated funding from the Treasury
The bid is currently being considered as part of the government’s £3.7billion New Hospital Programme (NHP) to deliver 48 ‘new’ hospitals by 2030. It includes a number of ‘pathfinder’ bids, of which West Herts is one.
In its latest briefing to stakeholders the trust reports that the NHP ‘window for construction’ for pathfinder trusts runs from April 2023 to September 2024.
But has now been revealed that the NHP currently anticipates construction will be complete at the most developed ‘pathfinder’ schemes between 2026 and 2028.
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The trust is continuing to work on the outline business case for the development, but is currently waiting for feedback on recent submissions and for direction on factors such as room sizes, building methods and the ratio of single occupancy rooms required.
A trust spokesperson said: “We are confident that the work taking place at a national level to secure contractors and to provide a standardised approach to design will be of benefit to us and the hospitals who follow on after us.”
Once the business case is complete it will be scrutinised by NHP officials before a funding decision is made by the Treasury.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We are working closely with all NHS trusts within the programme, including West Herts Hospital, to plan how and when new hospitals will be built across the decade and timescales for individual schemes may change as the programme progresses.”