Petition for new A&E Hospital in West Hertfordshire backed by former MP
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A petition to build a new A&E hospital central to St Albans, Watford and Dacorum is being supported by former Labour MP Kerry Pollard.
Campaigner Andy Love created the petition calling on the West Herts Hospitals Trust (WHHT) to create a new hospital in a more central and accessible location than Watford General Hospital in Vicarage Road, Watford.
The trust has submitted plans to redevelop both Watford General Hospital and St Albans City Hospital over the next 12 years, which Andy argues would cause considerable disruption to both patients and staff.
Writing to Mr Pollard, St Albans MP Anne Main and Lib Dem candidate Daisy Cooper, Andy said: “The St Albans residents I speak to are very unhappy with the current location of their A&E hospital being at Vicarage Road due to it being hard to get to at peak times of the day by either car or public transport, being situated on a hill, having limited car parking and being right next to a premier league football ground.
“St Albans and district surely has a large enough population to have much better access to an A&E hospital especially when there is talk of so many more houses being built in the area over the coming decades.
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“I have started the petition to enable St Albans residents to have a voice on this important topic.”
Andy clarified that the petition was not calling for the closure of either Watford General or St Albans City hospitals, but was looking for a better, long-term solution for the area.
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Mr Pollard replied that he was happy to support the petition, He said: “You may recall that when I was MP that agreement had been reached to build a new teaching hospital on a site (a lorry park) just across from Herts University, where we already have the best nurses’ training school in the country.”
Daisy Cooper explained that she was unable to support the petition because Watford General Hospital is now more easily accessible due to the new hospital link road. She also argued that a site central to St Albans, Watford and Dacorum would be adjacent to the M25, and that traffic accidents could bring ambulances to a standstill.
Ms Cooper also explained that a new ‘super hospital’ would likely cause St Albans City Hospital to close, and the building of a new hospital would likely take years.
She told Andy that the Lib Dems want to combine the funding for health and social services to prevent delayed discharge from hospital, or ‘bed blocking’.
She said: “I would much prefer that any available funds were re-directed to properly funding social care, which would in turn reduce the pressure on our hospitals.”
MP Anne Main also refused to support the petition, saying: “The petition does not mention that any new central hospital would be conditional upon the retention of services at Saint Albans City Hospital.
“The risk of St Albans losing too many services is too great. On this basis I cannot support a stand-alone concept of a new hospital without that essential condition.”
She did, however, agree that in ideal circumstances, a central hospital would be “desirable”.
Andy cited the example of a petition in Margate to keep an A&E at Margate Hospital, showing the importance of having an A&E within easy distance of where you live.
He said: “St Albans has been downgraded to nothing more than a satellite hospital, so the best we can hope for is a new A&E hospital that is more accessible than WGH, that would be built quicker than redeveloping inadequate existing hospital sites and has the facilities and capacity to cater for a growing and aging population.”
To sign the petition go to https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/202644