Politicians unite to call for urgent care centre for St Albans

St Albans Hospital. Minor injuries unit.

St Albans Hospital. Minor injuries unit. - Credit: Archant

St Albans City Hospital’s minor injuries unit needs to be upgraded into an urgent care centre a public meeting on hospital services heard recently.

David Radbourne, an experienced hospital administrator who along with a team from Deloitte is leading a strategic review on local hospitals, was told that St Albans and Harpenden “are disadvantaged” when it comes to the provision of health care.

John Wigley, spokesman for St Albans & Harpenden Patient Group, praised nurses leading the city’s minor injuries unit for providing good treatment but said that as it did not have a doctor present “it has severe limitations”.

He added: “It cannot deal with genuine accident and emergency patients, who are usually directed to Watford Hospital.

“St Albans and Harpenden have a combined population of about 90,000 people. But nearby towns with similar populations, such as Hemel Hempstead, have urgent care centres – we are being left behind and disadvantaged.”

John said offering urgent care would take the pressure off Watford Hospital.

Over 30 people attended the meeting, including St Albans MP Anne Main and Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Sandy Walkington.

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David Radbourne was warned that residents were losing confidence in West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust, and are asking to be treated at Lister Hospital in Stevenage, or Luton and Dunstable.

John said the trust, which recently farewelled its chief executive Samantha Jones after less than two years in the post, “needs a long-stay CEO and better management”.

Mrs Main said an urgent care centre should be seriously considered given St Albans’ proximity to busy motorways and carriageways including the A414.

Referring to local parliamentary candidates joining forces to oppose the hated Park Street rail freight terminal scheme, Mr Walkington said: “I hope we will all come together to push for an urgent care centre in St Albans. A city of our size deserves no less and it would take pressure off Watford A&E.”