Herts Ad Comment: Round and round we go again

Herts Advertiser comment

Herts Advertiser comment - Credit: Archant

St Albans, it would be fair to say, is a district where too many issues are on a merry go round without reaching any real conclusion.

Take the air pollution problems in the city centre (no nearer resolution than when it was first raised years ago), what to do with roads which are becoming increasingly congested, the problems with Luton Airport flights over the district and whether or not anything will ever be built on the rail freight site in Park Street to name but a few.

And now we have public consultation - again - into how people want to see their hospital services developed. And right at the top of the tree is that utopian vision - a new purpose-built hospital.

Like so many other local issues, it is nothing new. Many will remember the proposals for a ‘superhospital’ which was to be built in a central location to serve West Herts. Ask anyone at the time what they wanted to see in the future and the superhospital came out on top by a country mile.

Unsurprisingly it never happened and West Herts was left with two downgraded general hospitals, St Albans City and Hemel Hempstead, and Watford General the main emergency hospital with all its attendant problems of access.

Now local health bodies and the county council are looking at the issue all over again and the first option is a new hospital. That is inevitably going to be the proposal which most people support because the idea of a new, more easily accessible hospital which is attractive to clinicians and nursing staff, is what most people would like to see on their doorstep.

But it is by far the most costly of the three options - and that alone give the authors of the document Your Care, Your Future, a way out should support for it be overwhelming.

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It would be wonderful to be proved wrong but by giving people an option which is highly desirable and all but unobtainable are they not just setting themselves up for another fall.