Care minister Helen Whately given a glimpse of the future for West Hertfordshire Hospital Trust

The West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust manages hospitals in Hemel Hempstead, Watford and St Albans

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 6:12 am

West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust (WHHT) recently welcomed the minister for care to Watford General Hospital.

Deputy chief executive Helen Brown and members of the acute redevelopment team used the vantage point of the car park to demonstrate to Helen Whately the challenges posed to patients and staff by the current estate.

The minister was also able to see first hand the work underway on the construction of a multi-storey car park which will make life easier for patients, staff and visitors.

West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust recently welcomed the minister for care, Helen Whately, to Watford General Hospital

Ms Whately was shown what the future could look like through the plans and proposals for new clinical buildings at Watford General Hospital.

These plans form part of the trust’s ambition for its acute redevelopment programme which will also see investment in its hospitals at Hemel Hempstead and St Albans.

At the heart of the proposals – set out in the trust’s engagement programme Your Care, Your Views – is the aim to give each of the trust’s three hospitals a unique purpose along these lines:

> Watford General Hospital – emergency, maternity and inpatient care – including specialist services and complex surgery

> Hemel Hempstead Hospital – planned medical care and treatment for people with long term conditions

> St Albans City Hospital – planned surgery and cancer care.

Ms Whately said: “My huge thanks to the amazing staff at West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust for their hard work caring for patients – most of whom were treated at Watford General Hospital – during the pandemic.

"Thanks also to the staff who met with me and shared some of their experiences over the last year.

"They have been through so much and I’m determined to do all I can so staff get the support they need to recover from the trauma of the pandemic.

"It’s great news that over 11,000 health and care staff in West Hertfordshire have had their first Covid jab already – helping to protect both staff and those they care for.

"And I was delighted to see the vaccination centre in full swing with many staff getting their second jabs.

“I heard from staff about the redevelopment plans for NHS West Hertfordshire, which will make such a difference for patients and staff.

"I’m looking forward to seeing these ambitious plans progress as part of work to build 40 new hospitals across the country by 2030, backed by £3.7 billion in investment.”

It is not just buildings and services that the trust is planning to change as it is also working to become a named teaching hospital.

Director of medical education Dr Ashley Reece spoke about the trust’s extensive and far-reaching role in the teaching and training of medical students, nurses and midwives and specialist health professionals.

The minister met frontline staff to learn about their experiences of the past year and also took a behind the scenes tour of the vaccination centre based at Watford Football Club.

Staff at the centre are busy administering second doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to health and care staff from across west Hertfordshire.

The minister joined volunteers as they delivered donations to staff on a ward and met lead nurse for patient experience Maggie Pacheco who told her about the enormous contribution the trust’s volunteer response team has made to making life that little bit better for patients and staff through the pandemic.