New west Herts hospitals campaign group calls for support from St Albans
PUBLISHED: 06:59 14 January 2020
A new Hemel Hempstead group calling for a hospital central to west Herts is urging St Albans residents to take part.
The West Herts NHS Hospitals Support Group was only formed four months ago, but already has more than 6,000 members.
NHS bosses have ruled out building a new hospital due to budget constraints, instead choosing to renovate existing services at St Albans City, Hemel Hempstead and Watford General hospitals, and are currently facing a legal challenge from the New Hospital Campaign.
Under the current plans, the bulk of the money will be spent on Watford General, with smaller renovations at the other two hospitals.
The new support group is calling for a hospital within equal distance of St Albans, Watford and Hemel, arguing that extensive renovations at Watford General will not cater for a growing population across west Herts.
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Aaron Cooper, who founded the group, said: "We are a group which is all about supporting the NHS in west Hertfordshire, be it nurses or patients. We will be supporting them any way we can - but right now the hospital is our main concern and focus.
"All we can do is push with public perseverance and let the health authorities know there is a need for such a hospital in a central location in west Herts and why."
The campaigners are planning a march in Hemel Hempstead town centre on Saturday, May 16, and want people from all over Herts to join their group on Facebook and take part.
Aaron said: "We wish for all towns and the wonderful people of St Albans to come and march with us to create awareness of the need and show people in west Herts how bad this situation is becoming.
"A new central-located hospital will give our amazing paramedics more options so save more lives quickly and efficiently with less distance being travelled for more people in west Herts."
Other campaign groups with a similar agenda are the New Hospital Campaign (NHC) and Herts Valleys Hospitals. Towards the end of November, the NHC met their fundraising target to mount a judicial review against Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (HVCCG).
The review is calling for a consultation into the existing proposals, and the NHC is now awaiting a full hearing.