St Albans Hospital could take on more specialist surgeries under plans for future care in West Herts

St Albans Hospital

St Albans Hospital - Credit: pic supplied

An enthusiastic welcome greeted future plans for St Albans City Hospital (SACH) at a public meeting for residents to hear what the proposals were.

But they heard there was still some way to go before the future of the city’s hospital is secured and its services improved for the public.

The public meeting at the district council offices was hosted by St Albans and Harpenden Patient Group (SAPG) with support from councillors including the chair of its health and wellbeing partnership, Cllr Robert Donald.

Cameron Ward and David Owens of the Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), and Helen Brown of the West Herts Hospitals Trust (WHHT), which runs St Albans City, spoke to a power-point presentation that included the latest thinking about the future of SACH.

The first phase of their review, Your Care, Your Future, which has been looking at options for enhancing emergency and acute care in West Herts has opted for emergency and specialised care to be carried out at Watford General while planned care and diagnostic work takes place at City Hospital.

A proposal for a new hospital to be built at a central location, which had received strong support from other parts of West Herts, is unlikely to proceed.

The meeting heard that not only would SACH be developed as a centre for planned care and cancer treatment but the CCG and WHHT hope to provide a wide range of diagnostics, including MRI and CT scans, endoscopy, and - subject to confirmation - day case and low to medium risk surgery.

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It is envisaged that SACH would focus on particular surgical specialities, including orthopaedics, urology and gynaecology,

As new buildings would be required, the plan is to provide them on the inner part of the site, furthest from Waverley Road, with car parking problems eased by the building of a two-level car park instead of the existing ground level one.

But the recommendations in Your Care, Your Future have to be approved by the cash-strapped NHS and a lot will depend on whether there is enough money available.

John Wigley, chair of SAPG, said the proposals had received an enthusiastic welcome at the meeting and residents had made it clear to the speakers what they hoped to see developed at the hospital.

He commented: “The meeting had focused on some of the most important developments ever for the NHS in St. Albans and had reassured its citizens about the future of their hospital.”