West Hertfordshire hospital campaigners make final push for funds
PUBLISHED: 06:59 07 November 2019
Campaigners for a new hospital central to St Albans, Watford and Dacorum are making a final plea for donations to fund their legal challenge against local NHS bosses.
The New Hospital Campaign (NHC) applied for a judicial review after Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (HVCCG) and West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust (WHHT) stated their preferred option to renovate existing hospital sites at St Albans City, Hemel Hempstead and Watford General.
Campaigners have argued the Watford site in Vicarage Road is inaccessible, and the community would be better served by a new hospital in a central location.
The hospitals trust and the CCG ruled out building a new hospital after being given a £350 million spending limit. The bulk of the money will be spent on renovating Watford General, with smaller improvements made at the other two hospitals.
A High Court judge approved the NHC's application, which means the case can now go forward for a full hearing.
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The campaigners are seeking to raise £20,000 to fund the legal challenge, and have so far raised more than £14,300 - more than half of which has been raised through their crowdfunding site.
Campaigner Ron Glatter said: "This is very encouraging and we're immensely grateful to all the members of the public who have generously supported our appeal.
"We are thrilled by the response of the public in west Hertfordshire so far, but know we must reach our target and would urge residents and organisations to help us do so.
"It is vital that we have state-of-the-art 21st century hospital provision in this area on a clear, accessible site.
"This option has been dismissed by the local health bodies without being given full and fair consideration through public consultation, so the whole process has had no credibility."
The campaigners have pointed to other schemes which were promised similar funding by the government, such as the Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust in Harlow, and which are promoting a new hospital as a serious option.
Donations can be made at https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/new-hospital-campaign or to the dedicated bank account: DHAG-New Hospital Campaign, sort code 30-80-49, account number 34945668.