Herts Ad Comment: Questions over future of St Albans City Hospital

St Albans City Hospital

St Albans City Hospital - Credit: Archant

What IS happening at St Albans City Hospital (SACH)? News this week that further specialist services are being removed from the site seem to cast doubts over previous promises about the future of the site.

At the end of last year, Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), and the West Herts Hospitals Trust (WHHT) announced the findings of their review of services, Your Care Your Future, in which they claimed planned care and diagnostic work would take place at SACH.

Not only would SACH be developed as a centre for planned care and cancer treatment but the CCG and WHHT hope to provide a wide range of diagnostics, including MRI and CT scans, endoscopy, and - subject to confirmation - day case and low to medium risk surgery.

It is envisaged that SACH would focus on particular surgical specialities, including orthopaedics, urology and gynaecology,

Of course, since that announcement, we have seen the removal of 39 community in-patient beds with the closure of Sopwell and Langton wards, as part of cash-cutting measures imposed by the CCG.

And now we hear that the special care dental service, which provides treatment for disabled patients and those with special needs, is set to be relocated to Hemel Hempstead. In fact, were it not for the Herts Advertiser, the move would have likely happened without any publicity, which does not bode well for future moves of this nature.

As we have seen on may previous occasions, to do anything by stealth, without involving other interested parties, always smacks of having something to hide.

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If specialist services of this nature are being removed from SACH, questions surely have to be asked about what the future of the site will be. After all, the much-heralded vision announced last year already seems to be little more than a pipe dream.

We will wait and see whether the relocation of the special care dental service is just the first of many similar decisions, as that will be much more worrying, although perhaps such a move would add further weight to the argument for a super hospital for west Herts?