MP supports petition for new hospital to replace 'crumbling' Watford General
PUBLISHED: 10:50 15 May 2018 | UPDATED: 10:57 15 May 2018
A petition to build a new A&E hospital central to St Albans, Watford and Dacorum has won the support of a neighbouring MP.
The petition, which was started by campaigner Andy Love, is calling on NHS decision makers to instruct West Herts Hospital Trust (WHHT) to amend their strategic outline case, arguing that an A&E hospital is needed in west Herts instead of developing the existing Watford General Hospital in Vicarage Road.
Now Sir Mike Penning, MP for Hemel Hempstead, has tabled a motion in Parliament in support of a new, central hospital, and is urging constituents to sign the petition.
He said: “We need a new, modern, purpose-built, acute hospital to serve the people of Hemel Hempstead, St Albans and Watford. It is a big mistake to focus all efforts on Watford.
“We have excellent medical teams in west Herts and they need a new, state-of-the-art facility in which to work. A hotchpotch of old crumbling buildings on a site chosen for a Victorian workhouse is not fit for 21st century medical care.
“My gut feeling is that trying to turn the existing buildings into a slick new hospital will end up costing a lot more and take a lot more time than starting afresh.
“Let’s start again, on a greenfield site, with room to allow for expansion, plenty of free, and level, car parking. It’s a no brainer.
“It would benefit the people of this growing part of the world as well as serve as a well-located backup for any major incidents on the M1, M25, the airports and north west London.”
The petition, which closes on Wednesday, May 23, currently has nearly 9,000 signatures, but needs 10,000 to be considered by the Government.
Members of the New Hospital Campaign group (NHC) have argued that a new hospital site would be more accessible than Watford General by car or public transport, as congestion around the Vicarage Road site makes it difficult to reach in emergencies.
Last year a previous petition, which reached 10,000 signatures, was rejected by the Department of Health, who stated that WHHT had ruled out a new hospital as unaffordable and undeliverable.
Sir Mike said: “The more noise we make, the better. I would encourage everyone to sign and share this petiton.”
St Albans MP Anne Main has declined to back the petition as it lacks provision to keep critical services at St Albans City Hospital.
To sign go to https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/202644