Health bosses have insisted that their patients will NOT face tougher journeys to Watford Hospital than they would travelling to a brand new hospital.
The Gazette this week spoke to Dr Nicolas Small and David Evans, two of the leaders of the Your Care, Your Future healthcare review.
Last week the Gazette exclusively revealed that the review had rejected proposals for a brand new hospital on greenfield land equidistant from Hemel Hempstead, St Albans and Watford.
Instead bosses are set to re-develop the existing St Albans and Watford sites.
Dr Small (pictured) said: “We’re now going to start motoring about the decision on health and social care.
“In Hemel Hempstead that will mean a purpose-built facility with most of the activities that take place at an acute hospital.
“That’s the important message – we’re planning something substantial still at Hemel Hempstead Hospital.”
Responding to concerns about travel times for people rto Watford Hospital, which is next to Watford FC’s Vicarage Road stadium, Dr Small said: “Our figures really demonstrate what we’ve done to check this.
“When the new relief road is built the travel times will be better than to a new hospital on a greenfield site.”
Patients in Dacorum have felt particularly hard done by changes to hospital care over the past decade. Hemel Hospital lost its A&E department and a number of other services in 2009, and health chiefs have consistently said that A&E will not return.
Mr Evans said: “There will no longer be beds at Hemel Hospital but it will be a modern facility that delivers urgent care and other care, with health and social care.
“It will meet the needs of everyone in Dacorum.”