Dacorum campaign group calls for new A&E hospital

A Dacorum-based campaign group is calling for a new A&E hospital to shield the borough from further virus outbreaks.

Friday, 12th June 2020, 1:36 pm

New Hospital Campaign (NHC) member Jean Ritchie has looked at the research about how the provision of single rooms promotes this.

She quotes one study as concluding “Single room isolation facilities are essential in acute hospitals and will become increasingly important as highly transmissible and increasingly resistant organisms colonise and infect patients”.

From her review Jean says single rooms not only eliminate the risk of cross-infection but also, by putting sinks near the entrance to the room, underline the importance of hand-washing for all staff “which is not easy on a ward where washing facilities are shared”.

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A spokesperson for the New Hospital Campaign said: "We can only have enough single rooms in a newly built hospital on a clear site, not an old one where only around half of the estate is to be renovated as the West Herts Hospitals Trust (WHHT) has proposed.

"So far the WHHT have made no provision at all in their redevelopment plans for more single rooms. Building anew will save lives.

"This is one of the reasons why members of the NHC have congratulated the Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust (PAHT) in Harlow, Essex, just 30 miles away and in the same planning area as West Herts, on reportedly being given a conditional offer of £600million to build a brand new hospital on a clear site, which is their preferred way forward."

Like the West Herts Hospitals Trust (WHHT), the PAHT were one of the first six trusts that the prime minister announced last September would get funding to build a new hospital.

But as mentioned above the WHHT’s plan so far has not been to build a new hospital at all, only to redevelop parts of the Watford General Hospital.

The spokesperson added: "WHHT, which covers a much larger population than PAHT and has a substantially larger annual turnover, hasn’t told us if it has received a similar or higher conditional offer – and if not, why they think no such offer has been made."

A spokesperson for West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust said: “We have always planned to increase single occupancy rooms and our next and more detailed proposal (the outline business case) will show a significantly higher proportion of single rooms than we have at present.

"We are continuing to have discussions with the regulators about the amount of available funding.”

To read Jean Ritchie's full article on the single rooms in hospitals issue, visit: www.dhag.org.uk .