West Hertfordshire health leaders have rejected proposals for a brand new hospital to serve our area, and HemelToday can reveal their full explanation.
A joint announcement was made on Tuesday evening by Herts Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which oversees health across the region, and West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust which runs hospitals in Watford, St Albans and Hemel Hempstead.
They said that they would NOT be moving ahead with proposals for a brand new hospitals on greenbelt land, but would instead redevelop St Albans and Watford hospitals.
The statement said: “Following a period where we have analysed different options and had extensive and detailed discussions with groups of local people, we have decided to take forward an approach that retains services on the existing Watford and St Albans sites, carrying out redevelopment on both of them, with as much new build as we can achieve and with the possibility of a complete rebuild at Watford.”
They added: “Some stakeholders wanted us to pursue the option for a new hospital on a ‘greenfield’ site near junction 20 of the M25.
“Work we have carried out so far suggests that this would not be the best way forward either in terms of costs or other benefits such as travel times, but we are going to do some additional analysis in the coming weeks to review some of the data and costs in order to be sure we are right not to include this option in the next stage of the process.”
The joint statement included quotes from patients, and claimed that “the vast majority spoke very positively” about the consultation that health bosses have been running in recent months.
Health care has been a contentious issue for many years in Dacorum.
There was huge public outcry when Hemel Hempstead Hospital lost its A&E department and a number of other services in 2009, and health bosses have consistently stated that there was no chance of it returning.
Only this year Dr Nicholas Small, chairman of Herts Valey CCG, told our sister newspaper the Gazette: Earlier this year Dr Nicholas Small told the Gazette: “We do not plan to open a new A&E service in Hemel because that is not the way to deal with the short or long-term issues.”
However patients have bemoaned various aspects of travelling to Watford Hospital, including how ineaccessible it can be on matchdays because of its location next to Watofrd FC’s Vicarage Road stadium.