‘Forget A&E, we need a brand new modern hospital’, says MP

MP Mike Penning
MP Mike Penning

Patients face ‘chaos’ according to MP Mike Penning, but he believes that the solution is an all-new hospital.

Mr Penning was prominent in the campaign to save Hemel’s A&E department from closure in 2009.

He claims that the current mess was predicted by the Care Quality Commission, which oversees healthcare, seven years ago.

He said: “It is everything that was predicted and the CQC report explains everything. It makes me very angry.

“It’s chaos again and the public do not know what is 
going on, but the answer is not to open another A&E in Hemel Hempstead.

“The Victorian buildings at Hemel and Watford are not a 21st century acute facility, and that’s what people need.”

But the politician said the West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust needs to ‘sort out’ its management issues, as highlighted in the most recent CQC report, before it is able to apply for foundation status and secure the funding to build a new hospital to serve Hemel, Watford and St Albans.

He said: “The staff are doing a fantastic job and I feel sorry for them as well as for my constituents, but they are being let down by the management once again.

“Until they sort out the structure, we will still be in this same position.”

Government-owned land in Breakspear Way, Hemel Hempstead, has previously been earmarked for development. Mr Penning says he hopes a new hospital will be built there in the future.

Talking about the over-stretched A&E department in Watford, he said: “The whole point of triaging is that people who need attention for minor ailments are re-directed – and though we do have an urgent care centre in Hemel, it’s a clinic – not a hospital.

“One of the biggest issues here is that if you want the public to use the other alternatives, you need to make sure they know about them.”