Health partners agree to explore ambitious plans for a 'healthcare campus' in the heart of Hemel Hempstead
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An ambitious plan for a new healthcare campus in the heart of Hemel Hempstead could make services more accessible and support economic recovery say health partners.
An outline agreement has been made by Dacorum Borough Council, West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and the NHS Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care Board, to explore the viability of an Integrated Health Campus at the former Market Square. The decision follows exploration work which has highlighted the advantages to residents and the wider regeneration of the town centre.
Council leader Cllr Ron Tindall said: “This is very early days, and a full study will be commissioned to develop detailed proposals for this potential campus. The evidence gathered so far suggests that the former Market Square site has several advantages. It is in an accessible location, in the heart of the town centre and the council owns the land. Additionally, it provides a focal point as part of our wider ambitions for the transformation of the town centre. We believe that this would be an exciting and highly beneficial development for the town and wider borough.”
Locating an Integrated Health Campus in the town centre would help consolidate healthcare services in a modern, purpose-built facility in an accessible location.
The authority says it is a flat and well connected site, and the Water Gardens Car Park can provide parking for the new facility. It would expect to increase footfall into the town centre, supporting businesses and economic recovery and bringing underutilised land back into use.
The next step will involve detailed discussion with multiple partners to develop an accurate understanding of the financial costs and benefits to deliver the scheme.
Jane Halpin, Chief Executive, NHS Hertfordshire and West Essex ICB, said: “The next step is to explore further how services currently on the Hemel Hempstead hospital site as well as primary care and potentially mental health and community services could be brought together into a purpose-built and accessible facility. Providing these frequently-used and much valued services together offers huge potential benefits for the local population and will address significant challenges related to the state of the existing estate. We all recognise that further work will be needed to establish the best ways of achieving the potential of the site, but are collectively committed to taking this concept to the next stage.”
Sir Mike Penning MP is also backing the project.
He added: “I am delighted that at last we have positive news for healthcare in Hemel Hempstead. It is great news that the NHS is working together with the council to seriously consider bringing new health services to Hemel Hempstead. The Market Square location is ideal; it is a level site with excellent public transport access to every part of the town. From the start of this endeavour, I have warned against creating false-hope. Even though it is still in very early stages, there is every reason to be optimistic that this will go ahead. A good news healthcare story at long last!”