Fury as Boris Johnson’s hospital funding announcement appears to rule out new hospital in West Hertfordshire

Sir Mike Penning MP has launched a furious broadside at health bosses, after it emerged that a £400million investment in West Herts Hospitals WILL go on refurbishing Watford.

Tuesday, 8th October 2019, 3:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th October 2019, 4:40 pm
HH41 DS Mike Penning at Cheer House,Hemel Hempstead Hospital

The furore follows the visit of Boris Johnson to Watford Hospital on Monday, when he promised that a newly-announced loan would go on creating “world class facilities” at Watford - apparently ruling out proposals for a new hospital on green belt land.

The Hemel Hempstead MP laid the blame squarely at the feet of bosses at the trust, saying they had not given the Prime Minister sufficient information.

However others have said that Boris Johnson should not have simply accepted what he was told.

Hospital campaigner Edie Glatter outside Hemel Hempstead's Urgent Care Centre. ENGPNL00120131025134621

Sir Mike said: “I am very angry. These people are employed to do their best for my constituents, and for people living across West Hertfordshire - but they seem to have a bloody-minded attitude.

“Nonetheless, we will carry on. We will not give up. And if necessary, we will challenge them in the courts.”
The Prime Minister was at Watford Hospital on Monday, where he paid tribute to local MP Richard Harrington who he described as a “colleague and friend”.

Ironically Mr Harrington is one of the Conservative MPs who rebelled against the PM over the prospect of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit, whereas Sir Mike has been a staunch loyalist.

Sir Mike spoke to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson that evening.

He told the Gazette: “I’ve not been this angry for a long time.

“I don’t blame staff. I don’t blame doctors, or cleaners, or porters. But the people running the hospital are not fit for purpose.”

Edie Glatter, of the New Hospital Campaign, described the Prime Minister’s announcement as “shameful.”

She said: “Why hasn’t he spoken to the other MPs whose constituencies come under the Trust? I’m sure Mike Penning would be happy to talk to him, and his views would be entirely different to Richard Harrington’s.

“It is shameful that, once again, pouring money into the decrepit and dysfunctional buildings at Watford is offered as the only solution.”

She added: “It seems the Prime Minister has only listened to one side: he has not had the chance to take note of the massive opposition to the Watford scheme across the rest of the Trust area‘ Edie said.

“There needs to be fresh thinking, public consultation, and a new hospital on a central, accessible site needs to go back on the table.

“Surely the Prime Minister wouldn’t want to condemn the people of West Herts to sub-standard, inaccessible hospital provision for generations to come while at the same time approving the plans of the Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust in Harlow to use their funding to build a brand new state-of-the-art hospital, and to consult fully with local residents about it?

“It is sad that the Prime Minister is unaware of the great opportunity of building a state-of-the-art hospital in an accessible location.”