Plans for Watford Hospital redevelopment will face ‘rigorous’ tests by regulator

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Plans by health bosses to revamp Watford Hospital will face ‘rigorous tests’ to see if it is financially viable – as a campaign to build a new hospital instead picks up speed.

Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning has received assurances from NHS Improvements that plans from West Herts Trust will be tested, and will rule whether the Trust’s economic justifications to rule out a new build on greenbelt land were well founded.

Mr Penning has backed the New Hospital Campaign in calling for a new hospital, and believes the plans put forward by health bosses are ‘flawed’.

It comes after the Gazette revealed the petition to build a new hospital has reached 10,000 signatures, which will prompt a response from parliament.

Mr Penning said: “The independent report commissioned by the New Hospital Campaign into the cost assumptions suggests that the hospital Trust proposals are flawed in that they may overstate the cost of the greenfield new build by some £247m.

“The report also says the cost of the redevelopment option may be understated by some £230m.

“If this is true then the economic justification for eliminating the greenfield option is invalid.

“NHS Improvements has agreed to specifically ensure that the financial and economic assumptions used to rule out the greenfield option are fully tested, understood and well-founded.”

The Trust’s proposals won’t be scrutinised by NHS Improvements until they have been approved by the GP led Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) at a board meeting on June 9.

Mr Penning added: “I hope common sense may prevail and the flawed proposals from the Watford-based Trust are rejected, and the greenfield option is reinstated.”