4th June 2019
A letter to the editor
Today we wrote to the Hemel Hempstead Gazette. Here’s the letter
Well timed common sense needed
In a climate of Trump facts, Brexit and mis-leading claims from Boris about giving the NHS £350m, it’s important to keep an eye on the local issues that affect us most.
Our belief is that a centrally located hospital that is accessible to everyone in West Herts would (if coupled with hubs in each town) benefit the whole region and stop the “divide and conquer”, and I’m all right jack” behaviour currently seen across West Herts.
Next Thursday the public will be “informed” of the short list options that have yet to include our proposal. I urge everyone to come along to the meeting to support our proposal and to urge the local NHS to be brave enough to make a generational step change.
3rd June 2019
Public meeting 13th June – Everyone urged to attend
A public meeting hosted by the local NHS is scheduled for the Thursday 13th of June in Bushey. The purpose of the meeting is to update people on their “preferred options” that have been developed in the last 5 months.
Despite writing to the managers on the 29th of May requesting an urgent meeting to discuss the possibility of a new hospital on a greenfield site, the meeting will in all likelihood continue to focus on 4 options that didn’t even consider a new hospital. They will instead put a “shortlist” of options which by their own admission are compromised.
The slide above does NOT show an option for a new hospital it only goes as far as part of a new hospital on a new site (option 4). This doesn’t go far enough in our view.
The slide above was circulated to the CCG and trust for them to consider at their board meeting on the 6th of June. However it was edited to remove references to consultation – something that the local NHS don’t really want to do.
We think they want to choose option 1 which will continue to be bad news for most of the population who are outside the centre of Watford.
We strongly urge all our supporters to attend the meeting, and to tell the local NHS directly that a new hospital on a greenfield site is the only real option that you will support.
You MUST register for the meeting – details are here.
Comment : We have an opportunity to change healthcare for the next generation. Encourage the local NHS to be brave and go for it !
1st June 2019
CCG response to emails sent opposing their options
As the CCG board meeting on the 30th of May made no reference to the 160+ emails sent objecting to their options, we thought we should check whether they had been consigned to the bin or had actually been responded to.
So we asked our subscribers. Many people replied that they had received the same copy and paste Dear Hospital Supporter email A few people said they had not had a reply.
The main point of the email was that they rejected all of the comments/suggestions made when they said
“We note that you:
- do not support the shortlisted options presented at the public meeting in March;
- do not consider that the evaluation panel had sufficient information to make an informed decision;
- believe the removal of the option of building a new acute and specialist hospital on a greenfield site from the shortlist is wrong;
- urge that we halt the current process and re-consider options.”
It went on to say
“As you may be aware, this option is not on the shortlist because the estimated cost of building a new single site emergency and planned care hospital exceeds the funding threshold. Our regulators have advised us that the financial threshold for investment should not exceed the Trust’s turnover.”
Last time they put a proposal forward, a new hospital was not on the shortlist because it was more expensive than other options BUT this time round they haven’t seriously looked at how much it would cost and the estimated £750m figure used last time (that was challenged successfully) has not been mentioned.
Comment : The bottom line here is until a new hospital has been costed (even if it is for comparative purposes), taking into account all of the changes since the last proposal in 2017, our confidence in their proposals remains low.
30th May 2019
CCG board meeting
The CCG board previously discussed their shortlist of options in private. To make it look transparent, they bought the item to their regular board meeting. We were there and see them run through slides which the board were asked to “Note the previous discussion and decision make comments or make any further decision.” which they duly did.
We noted that the slides state “One member voiced their view that we should be considering a Greenfield Emergency site / Greenfield single site. It was explained this is not within the constraints and criteria we have been set.” but makes no mention to the 160+ emails sent to the CCG objecting to ALL of the options.
See page 13 to 28 in their Board meeting agenda
In more positive news, as our subscribers are aware, we submitted a letter to the CCG and trust asking them to consider 2 sites that could be used for a new hospital. The CEO of the trust Kathryn Magson said the CCG would ensure the matter was responded to.
Follow up to Shendish House CCG & Trust public meeting
Wow. Our subscribers responded amazingly and sent loads of emails to the CCG in support of a new hospital on a greenfield site. Just to make sure these emails didn’t get lost or ignored, we asked the CCG for a copy of them, and for them to tell us how many people did not support their proposals. In the letter they sent back they confirmed that in 157 of 160 emails we asked people to send DID NOT SUPPORT THE PROPOSALS MADE AT THEIR MEETING. They received a further 17 emails from other people who were at the meeting. This is in stark contrast to their presentation on the night that said that 1 person on a panel supported a new hospital on a greenfield site.
You can see ALL 171 emails they received here FOI 18190309 Emails.
Comment : How can the CCG & Trust think for one minute that the “panel” and these public meetings accurately represents the community ?
7th March 2019
Shendish House CCG & Trust public meeting
A public meeting was held to tell the public the latest thinking on the “options” that will be sent to the next stage of consideration. Read our full report
At the meeting the public were told that the last opportunity for making their views heard was in 3 days time. So we emailed our subscribers asking them to tell the CCG what they thought of the options they had just seen. Watch this space ….
The CCG later published their slides from the event. Have a read. .
29th Jan 19
CCG public meeting
The meeting informed the public that there was now only £350 million to fund the scheme as the regulator have told the trust that they can only spend up to their annual turnover.
The slides are here Combined_public_event_slides_and_QAs_29012019
Their challenge NOW is not that they disagree with the idea of having a new hospital it is that they are limited to what they can spend.
Comment : So it’s now a matter of cut your cloth to the turnover not what do we need and how much will it cost. Why did they not know this before ??
5th Jan 2019
Herts Valleys Hospital community survey goes live
Happy new year ! We’re pleased to announce that our latest survey went live today. It’s designed to ensure that our supporters are able to feedback their views on the current issues, and also to ensure that we are representing the local community properly. Take a look. It’ll only take you a minute to complete. Then share it with your family and friends. Survey
Link to share http://www.hertsvalleyshospital.co.uk/survey/
10th November 2018
New CEO announced for West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust (WHHT)
WHHT have announced the appointment of Christine Allen as new CEO for the hospital Trust. Ms Allen will join on Monday 4 March from James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust where she is currently CEO.
More details are available here.
Lets hope that Ms Allen (who is originally from Watford) gets up to speed quickly, and takes a fresh look at the best long term solution for all of West Herts.
10th November 2018
New Herts Valleys Hospital public meeting announced
We’re delighted to announce that following recent meetings we held in Leverstock Green and Berkhamsted, we’re holding a public event in Tring on Wed the 21st of November at 7.30 pm. The meeting is being held at the Nora Grace Hall, Faversham Close, Tring HP23 5BA
At the meeting we’ll be providing locals with the latest news in our quest for a new hospital on a greenfield site for all of West Herts, details of the current local NHS plans, news of a new petition and we’ll also be looking for local supporters who can setup a Tring group.
We’ll be collecting donations on the night (no obligation) to allow us to do future meetings like this and to develop our support right across West Hertfordshire. We’re also looking to recruit 100 club members – more details on the night. We’re able to accept credit card donations on the night so don’t forget to bring your card !
Hope to see you there.
23rd October 2018
Local NHS outlines new ideas for planned care site at 3rd of 4 local meetings
160+ locals heard about “possible” plans for a new planned care hospital from West Herts Hospital Trust and Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning group in a meeting at the Laureate school in Hemel Hempstead this evening. For a full report, read our full article here.
The meeting was then covered by the Hemel Gazette. Read their article here.
Comment We welcome the possibility of a new planned care site. We feel strongly that in developing their plans the local NHS must consider all options thoroughly, and not arrive at a short list based on previous, outdated work. The community, the councils and the local NHS all need to be united before any short list proposals are taken forward.
A 4th meeting will take place in Watford on Tuesday, 6 November 7-9pm
The Hub room, West Herts College (Watford Campus), Hempstead Road, Watford WD17 3EZ
11th October 2018
Residents of Leverstock Green claim their village could double in size as a result of a major housing development – Reports the Hemel Today website
The article continues
“They are also worried the development, on designated green belt land, would ruin the character and community spirit of their village.
St Albans City and District Council’s local plan 2020-2036 includes the development of 5,500 new homes including 2,400 on the edge of Leverstock Green. John Baldwin, trustee of Leverstock Green Village Association (LGVA), claims the development would almost double the size of the village.
“We believe that almost doubling the population would have a seriously detrimental effect on the village’s character while the whole infrastructure would have to change, possibly beyond recognition.
“The original purpose of the green belt was to prevent urban sprawl and to preserve forested and agricultural land. LGVA believes it is important to preserve this but SADC appear to be paying little heed to it.”
Although the new homes would be in Dacorum the huge increase in population would be expected to have a significant impact on the area’s local roads, public services and schools.
This represents approximately 37 per cent of its entire target of 14,600 new homes between now and 2036. Additional homes will be built to the north, straddling both sides of Redbourn Road.
Despite objections Peter Ingram, chairman of HertsValleysHospital says the development could bring a new hospital to the area.
He added: “At our recent public meeting in Leverstock Green it was clear that residents could support the building of a new ‘planned care’ hospital on the site near Leverstock Green. The housing and hospital debate, and responsibility for the supporting infrastructure, is something councils and the NHS must work together on to ensure it is in everyone’s best interests.”
To see the full plans visit stalbans.gov.uk/planning/thelocalplan.aspx“
Comment – It’s good to get this debate started not only about houses, but about hospitals, and other infrastructure. Councils, MP’s and the NHS MUST get together and work in community interests IF these proposals are to succeed.
3rd October 2018
Coverage in Hemel Gazette –
This week is turning into a big news week for us. Again we’re in the press. This time in the Hemel Gazette together with MP Mike Penning who supports our idea of a NEW hospital on a greenfield site. While the NHS announcement we broke says it’s just for planned care, we and Mike believe the BEST answer is to provide a central site for everyone in West Herts.
Read the full article by clicking on the picture.
1st October 2018
BBC news picks up our story. West Hertfordshire: New hospital plan ‘back on the table
Following our appearance on BBC 3 counties this morning, the main BBC News website also published an article.
“Plans to build a new hospital for planned surgery in Hertfordshire are being looked at, a campaign group says.
Herts Valleys Hospital said a facility on greenfield land was being considered after the NHS rejected expansion plans for St Albans and Hemel Hempstead hospitals.
Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) confirmed to the BBC the plans must be re-evaluated and that one alternative proposal was a new-build. It will release more information later.
NHS Improvement has been considering West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust’s expansion proposal since February 2017.
Both the trust and the CCG told the BBC it was rejected because the cost – between £300m and £700m – was too high. The regulator has now told the trust to come up with alternative proposals.
Herts Valleys Hospital, which has been campaigning for a new acute hospital for West Hertfordshire, has cautiously welcomed the proposal which would see a facility built between St Albans and Hemel Hempstead for “planned care”, with the existing Watford Accident and Emergency unit being refurbished, as under current plans.
It said while residents hoped to see a new full acute hospital built, the plans were seen as a “first sign of some fresh thinking”.
Chairman Peter Ingram said the group was “delighted” that the local NHS had “put a greenfield option back on the table – if only for planned care”.
He added: “This new thinking from the local NHS could solve half of the problem we have in West Herts by providing a realistic option for planned care that is accessible for residents of St Albans, Watford and Dacorum.”
Conservative MP for Hemel Hempstead, Sir Mike Penning, said local NHS managers had always been told by NHS England not to put a project forward that did not include a new-build. “Hopefully common sense will prevail… and they will realise that the greenfield option is the only option,” he said.
The trust and the CCG told the BBC they would release a statement later this week.
Comment We’re breaking and making the news AND spreading the word !
1st October 2018
A turning point for local hospital thinking ?
Exciting news. At a meeting last week, the local NHS quietly announced possible plans for a planned care hospital on a site between St Albans & Hemel Hempstead. This is because NHS Improvement said that their previously submitted plan needed to re-visit population growth and competition for funds. The work will also take into account the Hemel Hempstead site which had previously been excluded.
Despite not having an acute facility (and the existing proposal for Watford re-development/rebuilding continuing), HertsValleysHospital.co.uk are pleased that a “potential” greenfield site has been suggested. We’d add a cautionary note that this is not yet a decision. Full public consultation is needed not the “Decide and tell” that has been seen previously.
We discussed the news on BBC 3 Counties radio this morning with Andy Collins.
5th June 2018
Public launch meeting of Herts Valleys Hospital group 20th June
The first public meeting of Herts Valleys Hospital will take place in Berkhamsted on the 20th of June. At the meeting, details will be given about the plans the group have to make a brand new hospital in West Herts a reality.
Speaking to the Gazette last week, Director of Herts Valleys Hospital Gordon Yearwood said “There’s widespread agreement that West Herts needs a new state of the art hospital on a centrally located site”.
The meeting will also kick off the groups plan to generate initial funds to kick start the project. The so called “100 club” will recruit donors of £100 to raise £100,000. This will then enable further development in the 3rd quarter of 2018.
The meeting takes place at Berkhamsted Civic Centre 161-163 High St, Berkhamsted HP4 3HD at 7.30 on Wednesday the 20th of June. All are welcome.
If you’re interested in getting updates from the group, signup via this page and we’ll keep you in the loop.
13th March 2018
Local MP debates accountability of local NHS
Local MP Mike Penning challenges the management of the local NHS trust, and discusses issues with changes to A&E, Urgent Care and Urgent Treatment Centre. Click the picture to watch the debate.
St Albans resident Andrew Love has started a parliament petition to build a hospital central to the 3 towns in West Herts. We fully support the initiative !!
Click the image and sign it today
9th January to 21st February 2018
Your chance to input to future plans
St Albans District Council (SADC) Consultation on Local Plan
Residents of St Albans District have the chance to keep open potential sites and to highlight the future vision for a between-towns acute hospital.
If you are an SADC resident, you have until 21st February to contribute your views. https://www.stalbans.gov.uk/planning/thelocalplan.aspx
30th October to 13th December 2017
Dacorum Borough Council (DBC) Consultation on Local Plan
Residents of Dacorum Borough have the chance to keep open potential sites and to highlight the future vision for a between towns acute hospital.
The Consultation closed on 13th December.
23rd August 2017
Meeting with NHS Improvement Click for full article
14th July 2017
5th July 2017
4th July 2017 Chorleywood residents association join us
The Chorleywood residents association are featured in the “My Local Chorleywood ” magazine. Jon Bishop said there were big issues to be addressed. Evidence points the way of the greenfield being much cheaper. Read the full article on the My Local website or click on these images.
Thanks to mynewsmag.co.uk for permission to re-reproduce.
3rd July 2017 BBC 3 Counties Radio
BBC 3 counties breakfast show played host not only to hertsvalleyshospital.co.uk but also to local MP Mike Penning and New hospital campaign representative Edie Glatter on Monday morning.
The full Andy Collins show is available online (until the end of July 2017) . We were first on at 1 hr 20 mins from the start. A few minutes later Mike Penning was on (1hr 34) and 2hrs 22 min for Edie Glatter
Mike made some very reasoned arguments and said that the we don’t keep chucking money to Watford and that the senior managers making the decision will have to eat humble pie as they made bad decisions previously.
Discussing the discrepancies between the financial estimates from the CCG and the independent construction consultant Robert Brown, Edie said that the CCG’s external specialist were obviously going to come up with the same answer as they would be admitting they got it wrong in the first place. Where is the independent scrutiny ?
As Edie says, the plan now goes to the STP for approval and the same people on there are the same people who have made the same decision already.
The closing comment from Andy and Ben was priceless. It showed how easy it is for “the general punter” to get consumed. “Watford Hospital is like a pint glass with a pint and a half in it.” They then went on to say that it’s like living 3 bed house that has already been extended to a 4 bed house and there’s no space to add anything else. Ben then commented that you wouldn’t think that there would be such a difference between the financial costings.
Our thoughts exactly. It’s £220m cheaper for a greenfield compared to their estimates.