Speaker’s Corner: My concerns over future of our hospital

Let me make my position very clear, Hemel Hempstead needs a hospital. Closing it is outrageous and must be stopped.

Speaker's Corner: Howard Koch

Firstly I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year. I hope that you all had a very happy Christmas celebration.

I attended the open meeting hosted by Samantha Jones the CEO of West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust just before Christmas.

I must admit that the presentation of her achievements was impressive. It really seemed that there was someone who finally understood what is required of a hospital service.

In my opinion this was almost certainly down to her roots as she was a registered nurse who had actually worked in the NHS as a clinician.

So it was most upsetting but not surprising to find that she was leaving to head up a new NHS department. I know that the changes that she made had been very beneficial to the health of the local people.

Now for the politics! I would like to know just who is running the NHS and making the key decisions?

Is it the elected MP’s or the unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats. At the meeting I asked questions, one of which was: ‘Given that Dacroum and Hertfordshire councils have produced their Hemel Hempstead Town Centre ‘masterplan’ which shows quite clearly that Hemel Hospital will be a community hospital surrounded by a housing development, are you essentially closing Hemel Hospital?’.

The answer was very worrying. I was told they they had no knowledge of this document ( I have it on file) despite working regularly with the councils involved.

We were then told that there was a fundamental review of Hemel Hempstead Hospital which would be published AFTER the General Election!

We were further told that there would be ‘something’ on the site but they do not know what!

Their solution to the horrendous journey to Watford Hospital was to build a new road. We were also told that the Trust is in deficit and had to find more cutbacks.

Let me make my position very clear. Hemel Hempstead needs a hospital.

That hospital must have an A&E, a high dependency unit, a maternity unit, pathology, radiography , an oncology cancer ward so that people can have their chemotherapy locally, and some general wards.

I agree with the model that there should be specialist hospitals, but patients need to be stabilised first, before being moved.

Closing Hemel Hempstead Hospital is outrageous and must be stopped. The strategic plan of Herts CC and Dacorum is to build 10,000 new homes. This will collate to 40,000 or more people. Just how are these peoples health needs going to be met if Hemel Hempstead hospital is shut and Watford is cutback?

UKIP’s NHS policy is clear. The NHS will be free at the point of delivery and stay in public ownership and control. We are totally dedicated to the NHS , I should know as I am on the health committee.

So the question is, with a majority of Tory MP’s in the constituencies in which the hospital trust operates and a Tory council and county council, why is there no joined up thinking and why is the hospital trust in such a state?

It cannot be money, as there is plenty to pay the managers (while the nurses have to settle for either 0 or at best 1%), there is plenty of money to give away in foreign aide (£1 billion over the last few weeks alone, and this year a total of £12 billion will be given away).

Could it be that the NHS is being run down and sold off to the private sector? I do not know the answer, but I would like to hear from you if you know. If you want to save Hemel Hempstead hospital then we are the only party who can do this. Vote UKIP in May and we can stop the closure of our hospital.