MP calls for new St Albans hospital to ease pressures

St Albans City Hospital

St Albans City Hospital - Credit: Archant

A new state-of-the-art hospital is needed in St Albans to help ease the burden on local hospitals, according to a local politician.

And the Government has been accused of “losing control” of NHS finances after reports showed that the trust in charge of St Albans hospital has a £13.5 million deficit.

Figures obtained by St Albans MP Anne Main from the Department of Health show patients face an average 10-week wait for elective surgery – over one week more than the average for England.

Mrs Main said she was concerned that West Herts Hospital Trust, responsible for St Albans, Watford and Hemel Hempstead Hospitals, was cancelling more appointments than its local counterpart, East and North Herts NHS Trust.

She obtained the statistic during parliamentary questions, following complaints from residents.

Mrs Main has called for a new state-of-the-art hospital to be built “perhaps on the Crown Estates off the M1” in Redbourn to alleviate the pressure the trust is currently facing.

The MP also criticised the trust for paying its former chief executive Jan Filochowski a reported £45,000 bonus on top of his £250,000 salary “despite clear failings with cancer referrals over the course of three years, some of which affected my constituents.

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“This does smack of reward for failure at a time when difficult decisions are being made about the pay of other NHS staff.”

Mrs Main is to meet with the trust’s current chief executive, Samantha Jones, at the end of this month to discuss her concerns.

Labour’s parliamentary candidate for St Albans Kerry Pollard has claimed that official figures showed the trust is facing a £13.5 million deficit for 2013/14.

He said: “The Government has lost grip of the NHS finances. West Herts NHS Trust is reporting a deficit for the first time in years, putting patient care at even greater risk in future.”

Mr Pollard said the deficit figure had been obtained from the sector regulator for England’s health services, Monitor, the NHS Trust Development Authority and the House of Commons library.

In a recent blog, Ms Jones said local hospitals had seen “a significant increase in emergency admissions which of course has a knock-on effect on how we can provide elective – planned services, such as operations – and outpatient care for our patients.

“We have had a challenging year at the trust and I am aware of the pressures that staff have been, and continue to be under.”