Hospital emergency unit to close next March

PUBLISHED: 13:47 03 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:25 06 May 2010

Hospitals chief executive Jan Filochowski

Hospitals chief executive Jan Filochowski

EMERGENCY admissions to Hemel Hempstead Hospital will end in early March next year when a new 120-bed acute admissions unit (AAU) opens at Watford General. The AAU unit was due to open in October but has been put back because of the need for an additional

EMERGENCY admissions to Hemel Hempstead Hospital will end in early March next year when a new 120-bed acute admissions unit (AAU) opens at Watford General.

The AAU unit was due to open in October but has been put back because of the need for an additional power supply to the Watford site and the intervention of the Christmas/New Year break and the winter peak period for emergency admissions.

Jan Filochowski, chief executive of the West Herts Hospitals Trust, said the service changes were among the biggest taking place in the NHS in the coming year.

He added: "The centralisation is being carried out in a series of phased moves that will ensure patient safety and avoid as much disruption to services as possible."

An urgent care centre will open at Hemel Hempstead Hospital in October with the main A&E department there, which is used by many patients from the St Albans district, remaining open until the following March.

Mr Filochowski said the new date meant residents, patients and our staff across West Herts could have the highest degree of confidence that there would be a smooth and safe transfer of services.

St Albans MP Anne Main, who has met Mr Filochowski to discuss the situation, welcomed the decision not to rush ahead with the move and possibly create a Heathrow Terminal Five situation where staff were pushed to meet an obligatory deadline and services suffered as a result.

She added: "I think on balance that it makes sense to wait a short while, get it right - and avoid the chaotic winter months - to ensure that patients receive the best possible outcome in the long run."

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