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18 months later…… this is outrageous
17th July 2023
It’s been a while. In fact it’s been WAY too long. Since Feb 2022 when we met the then health secretary there has been pretty much nothing to talk about regarding the hospital program. Really it has been a waste of 18 months for not only the NHS and the Dept of Health but the government. After the government turmoil we now have a new set of politicians who seem to be just like the old lot.
We try NOT to be political (many are), and we try to make constructive, positive, input where it is welcome BUT we’re at the point where we feel it is POINTLESS. The system is screwed and it’s us it is screwing.
As an example, today the Government Audit office released a damming report on how the government hospital program is not making best use of government funds, has decisions made that cannot be backed up.
See section 2.7 that states
“DHSC’s failure to provide us with sufficient documentation of the basis on which HIP schemes were selected means we cannot say whether there was an evidence-based process for selecting these schemes as opposed to others.”
The summery report states “developing Hospital 2.0. Government has not achieved good value for money with NHP so far”.
So tell us something we didn’t know !
What a week that was
15th Feb 2022
In the last 7 days we have met the Health Secretary, been interviewed on BBC radio ,and got articles into all 4 local papers/publications AND the BBC news page. As well as that, our social media coverage has gone through the roof.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p0bjb4c5 Play it back from 2:49.35
This one is particularly brilliant – check out the comments from LOTS of Watford residents. If anyone thought for one minute that the people of Watford want a new hospital IN THE MIDDLE OF WATFORD think again.
More positive press …… (only available til March 12th 2022)
12th Feb 2022
11th Feb 2022
We have been quietly working away behind the scenes and today that paid off. We felt that whatever we did with West Herts Hospital trust, or the Herts Valleys Clinical commissioning group they just weren’t interested. This was proved several times.
So we took the matter right to the top. Savid Javid the Health secretary met with us and members of the New Hospital campaign and requested him to investigate. He agreed.
We will be sending him a full dossier of the excellent proposals we have and will ask him to intervene in the matter.
The full press release is here
Update on what’s happened in the last 8 months.
7th June 2021
On the 1st of October the trust and CCG approved the shortlist and decided to proceed to making an outline business case and full business case to build a NEW hospital in Watford next to the existing hospital.
Since then, we have continued to take part in pretty much all of the trust “stakeholder” briefings, and have continued to strongly object to the trusts plans to focus most of the spend in Watford. But they’re not listening.
And then in Jan 2021 the judicial review bought by the New Hospital campaign was lost. The judge said that the NHS didn’t need to go to public consultation back in 2018/19. Will they go to consultation this time round ? Who knows …..
Also the trust have had the spotlight shone on them about the Minor Injuries Unit in St Albans which closed in 2020 (and is to this day). They say it’s due to Covid, but it’s also due to the facility not meeting current standards. There is a suggestion that an Urgent Care Centre (like a Minor Injuries Unit but at a higher level) will open at some point but that is down to the CCG to commission it.
In other news, the Mount Vernon hospital (which deals with specialist cancer cases for West Herts) will be re-located onto the Watford site in a building adjacent to the new hospital. So despite St Albans thinking it was getting a good deal in getting a cancer diagnostic centre, the real work will still go to Watford.
In May 2021 we discovered that the trust’s timeline is way ahead of where it was scheduled to be, proving that the assertion that it would take longer to build on a clear site (yeah right), was misleading.
So where next for our project ? Well to say it is an increasing challenge to carry on would be an understatement.
There is ZERO will from politicians of all parties across the region, at all levels, to come together and do the right thing for the region.
There is ZERO support from the local and national NHS, and dept of health to do what the community want too. But we’re still here. And we will continue to be.
If the treasury in late 2021 throw out the outline business case because the “up to £590m” has disappeared – which has possibly already happened and was discussed at a may 2021 trust board meeting or the treasury can’t sign off on the case because it doesn’t have public support and can’t demonstrate best use of public funds, then the current scheme proposed will fall on it’s face. We don’t want it to fail but much much more can be achieved.
In the meantime, Hemel Hospital is being used as a vaccination centre and a film set for the Ricky Gervais series Afterlife. What has the world come to !
Take a look at this Facebook group as there are 9,000 people here who agree that this is an unacceptable situation.
27th September 2020
Crunch time approaching. Key trust and board meeting Thurs 1st Oct
This coming Thursday the trust and CCG hold a joint board meeting to approve a shortlist (and possibly a preferred option). However the trust are continuing to pursue their previous line which is to focus most of the potential £590m in Watford. It’s something the community doesn’t agree with. And now the trust have provided the evidence to support that statement !
We’ve tried to encourage and support the trust throughout this process and by taking part in ALL of their stakeholder events, and bringing a new site to them, there’s not much more we could have done as a community. However the trust are continuing to pursue their previous line which is to focus most of the potential £590m in Watford.
We’ve put our latest booklet into the 319 (yes 319) page briefing pack that members of the 2 boards have to read, understand and consider before the meeting. It’s on page 23 or download it here
There are also written representations from other groups starting on page 10 – mainly opposing the direction of travel.
The shortlist survey is discussed starting page 284. The main thing to takeaway is that 55% disagree or strongly disagree with the shortlist.
The most important line in the entire document is this one “Essentially the key decision facing both Boards, in the light of stakeholder views, is whether or not to shortlist any new site options.”
The full survey results start on page 292 of the document.
It’s likely to be a highly controversial decision that will be challenged by the public IF a new site does not advance to the shortlist.
14th September 2020
The shortlist the trust are asking people to agree to SHOULD have been generated after discussion of the longlist of stakeholders. So says the government’s much referred to “Green book”.
The trust could have used the professional stakeholder group, or the public stakeholder group to discuss the longlist and shortlist.
The decision was made by a “panel” was made up by an inner circle of managers from the trust and CCG with ZERO public discussion.
THIS IS WRONG
The Outline business case is therefore flawed and will not pass the tests required by the treasury for the money to be granted to the trust.
If you want to watch this cringeworthy admission from the deputy CEO Helen Brown, play it here.
We’re still open to talking to the trust about a new hospital on a clear site. After Tuesday, any democratic process will be ended as the trust will continue to push the ONLY option they have ever been interested in doing.
10th September 2020
Rush to meet election promise risks hospital disaster zone
In a major national article, the Health Services Journal have highlighted the danger of the trust proceeding with their current plan.
7th September 2020
Trust announces shortlist – WITHOUT A NEW HOSPITAL ON A CLEAR SITE
Sadly, the trust last friday evening sent out a press release to announce their “preferred shortlist”. This should mean they have whittled down ALL of the options looking at all of the advantages and disadvantages and come to a balanced conclusion. SADLY WE CAN’T SAY THEY HAVE.
They have concluded that based on the site survey report (which did not consider financial, commercial, or community input) to proceed WITHOUT TAKING ANY OF THE NEW SITES FORWARD. They claim that their timeline to deliver can’t be met by a new site when compared to our site (Note they suggest their site will take AT LEAST 11 quarters to build compared to ours that will take 8).
At the same time, they issues a survey aimed at local residents to get support for their announcement. WE URGE EVERYONE TO COMPLETE THE SURVEY TO SHOW HOW MANY PEOPLE DO NOT SUPPORT THE TRUSTS CURRENT PLAN.
The trust also put a video online Video encouraging people to support the scheme. They’ll not be winning any prizes looking at the quality of that.
We recommend people complete the survey following these suggestions by midnight Tuesday 15th September.
If you want to read their press release and accompanying document, feel free.
3rd September 2020
Trust board meeting – It’s not about the money (any more)
At todays trust board meeting, we asked a question. The reply was amazing.
West Herts board meeting Thursday 3rd September 2020
Referring to why the clear sites will not proceed to the shortlist, FD Don Richards said
“Value for money is not a critical success factor that rules out that particular option”
Steve Day from HertsValleysHospital.co.uk responded “So the board isn’t concerned that a new hospital on a clear site is being discounted without any consideration of the costs involved?”
Christine Allen “I can only re-iterate that we have a process to work with to have that discussion“
Radio interview – Radio Veralam
Listen to playback of our very own Andy Kilvington talking to Radio Veralam’s Steve Simpson about our plans for a new hospital.
24th August 2020
Apples and Oranges
The trust today published the so called “independent” site review written by the Royal Free London Property Services, who worked with two third-party companies. The report neatly concludes that none of the clear sites could be realistically used to build a new hospital and that the existing Watford Hospital site is in fact ideally positioned !
The conclusion says “This report demonstrates that the greenfield options carry FAR greater risk and complexity compared to the Watford General Hospital site options evidenced in the projected achievable timelines. It is for the Trust, together with its advisers to review this report and consider which sites will be shortlisted for the next stage.”
We’re concerned with the validity of the site review. ABOVE ALL ELSE it fails to mention that a hospital such as the HVH plan enables would be a Grade A facility, whereas focusing on a re-work in Watford doesn’t reach that standard.
Moreover, It seems as though the report gives a MANUFACTURED advantage to the trust’s own sites, quite unfairly. For example:
1) The trust will in both of the Watford cases procure building contractors BEFORE a full business case has been STARTED. An unusual business practice.
2) Construction enabling work will start in both of the Watford cases BEFORE a full business case has been COMPLETED thereby shortening the time to complete by 5-8 quarters. This could be a waste of money if the business case fails.
These 2 principles have not been applied to their calculations of the Chiswell Green site timeline to deliver. Why not?
UPDATE The trust responding to the second point on the 2nd of Sept said that construction enabling works could not begin on the Chiswell Green site begin before they own the land. Fair enough !
But they don’t own the Riverwell land either (the council do) and the enabling work will be completed BEFORE they own the land.
The feasibility review states that this is a high-level and subjective exercise… then claims it provides a “clear” comparison. But the misleading timeline makes the end date to develop the Chiswell Green site WORSE when in fact it is QUICKER.
Furthermore, the critical government factor of having the hospital “substantially completed” by the end of 2025 cannot be applied in the case of the Watford WO site. It’s misleading to say that they can “optimistically” deliver the whole project by Jan 2026 as in Feb of this year the trust stated “Note that there will be a longer timeline for refurbishment of PMOK on the WGH site ( up to an additional 2 years) as this cannot commence until the new clinical block has been completed.”
So while their assessment of delivering a new hospital on a clear site makes a big thing about the timeline and deliveribility being an issue for clear sites, it seems that their own materials is silent on the substantial risks of delays (for example due to snags in building on the site of a working hospital). In reality, they can’t deliver the thing on their own site by the “substantially complete by 2025” requirement – and they admit it !
Also, the site review ignores the financial cost of any eventual scheme stating “This study has not considered overall affordability.” There is no doubt in our mind that a new hospital on a clear site has a much better economic case.
While the final decision of which site/s goes through to a shortlist rests with the trust, the report fails to objectively inform the trust due to it’s limited remit. In our view, a shortlist without a clear site will lead to a Outline Business Case that fails to pass the required tests relating to strategic, economic, commercial, financial and management matters.
Finally, take a look at the Watford Observers report based on the trust’s own press release, and make sure you read the comments below the article. For example “Availability of the current site (scores) 4/4? Even though it has a hospital on it already?”
We promise, we didn’t write any of them !
UPDATE We asked the trust board to discuss the issue on the 3rd of September. Referring to the clear sites being discounted without a thorough examination of the economic and financial case – as required by the government green book – we believe that there is a severe risk that the trust will go into a financial nosedive. The deputy CEO said that there was no requirement to look at the costs of building PRIOR to generating a shortlist. The board had no comment and said that they follow a process.
19th August 2020
Call for evidence: Building hospitals in the post-Covid era
Policy Exchange is the UK’s leading think tank. As an educational charity their mission is to develop and promote new policy ideas which deliver better public services, a stronger society and a more dynamic economy.
They’re currently looking for evidence and input to a report which will go to the health secretary.
We’d love to input to the research. Send us your suggestions
6th August 2020
BBC 3 counties radio interview
BBC 3 counties radio have been very interested in the story over the years. This morning we were invited to discuss the letter from the Dept of Health suggesting that the trust concentrate their redevelopment on Watford Hospital. Listen to the interview here
5th August 2020
NHS boss sets 2025 deadline for west Herts hospitals development – Hemel Today
West Hertfordshire hospital bosses have been told only to focus on redevelopment plans that can be delivered by 2025, it has emerged.
And they’ve been given a list of options NHS chiefs want to see on their shortlist.
None of those specified options include plans for a new purpose-built hospital on a new site – although the shortlist will not be limited to those specified options.
5th August 2020
Campaigners for new West Herts hospital call for St Albans council to back alternative proposals – Herts Advertiser
More excellent coverage this time from the Herts Advertiser.
5th August 2020
The plans to give West Herts the hospitals it deserves – but it’s anything but simple – Hertfordshire Mercury
What an excellent article from the Hertfordshire Mercury.
What an excellent article.
3rd August 2020
St Albans councillors – What’s your view ?
We wrote to St Albans councillors a couple of weeks ago. The site we’re backing is in their territory so you’d think they would be interested in seeing what’s happening and how they can help ….. or maybe just comment. The reaction was stunning.
So we sent a second email to them today telling them that there is a risk that there will be NO investment in St Albans hospital until AFTER 2030/2035 (apart from a paltry £50m shared with Hemel Hospital) with Watford bagging the potential £540m.
Fact check : “The trust expects to make further investment into planned care services within the next 10 -15 years to provide a long term, sustainable solution for these services. (i.e. by 2035). This would be subject to a further capital business case application and / or funded from the trust’s own internal resources.”
Read the email to St Albans councillors here
28th July 2020
Dept of health telling the trust what to do ?
What a tangled web we weave. Just when we thought things were ticking along nicely, out pops a letter from the Dept of Health basically instructing the trust to come up with options centred around Watford !
Does this mean our proposal are dead in the water ? NOPE.
Does this mean there are behind the scenes moves by central government do fudge the answer ? Possibly.
Will the Dept of Health force through the solution and ignore us ? Not if we can help it.
We’re studying the implications of the letter, and whether it is something the Dept of Health can do. If nothing else it makes the stakeholder panels and the “Independent site review” a pointless exercise.
9th July 2020
Where is our preferred site ?
We’re getting enquiries on where the 4 sites are that are currently being reviewed by the trust. So we drew a little map.
Try zooming in on the map, looking at the routes from the existing hospitals, and comparing the location of our site compared to the others.
Brown Pin = Wayside farm Kings Langley
Red pin = Leverstock Green Hemel Hempstead
Green pin = HertsValleysHospital.co.uk site
Yellow pin = Railfreight terminal Radlett Aerodrome
Note In our view, the other sites are not as viable for a variety of reasons including politics, local opposition, availability and commercial reasons.
3rd July 2020
How can HertsValleysHospital.co.uk bring an additional £398m to the party ?
The Watford Observer have done a nice little piece on how we identified an additional £398m that the trust can access if they have imagination and vision !
“The people of Watford, Hemel Hempstead and St Albans now have a fully credible, one-time opportunity to build a shared new Hospital without the upheaval of jumping from foot-to-foot to construct piecemeal on the Vicarage Road site.
“We say it is possibly true that a simple application of the additional funds would enable Watford to be completely rebuilt on the same site but this would be a failure of imagination and vision.
30th June 2020
BBC 3 counties radio interview.
Hear from us talking to Andy Collins as well as Sir Mike Penning and Watford mayor Peter Taylor.
29th June 2020
26th June 2020
Hospital: The REAL Deal for West Herts (all of West Herts)
HertsValleysHospital.co.uk has received great news which was shared with West Herts Hospital Trust’s Stakeholder Reference Group on Thursday night. 25/6/20
An additional £190m of funding for a new hospital has been identified on top of the £400m already earmarked !
Taking a positive view, campaigners from HertsValleysHospital.co.uk have welcomed the funding news, provided it allows a “Real-Deal for West Herts patients” project to be progressed, with common sense that builds a sustainable end product, at speed – and brings local people together to share the benefit.
Meetings HertsValleysHospital.co.uk campaigners have had with different local MPs and in particular with West Herts Hospital Trust last year, indicated that there has been a growing recognition that £400m wasn’t really enough to do what is needed by the whole 600k community of West Herts.
The people of Watford, Hemel Hempstead and St Albans now have a fully credible, one-time opportunity to build a shared new Hospital WITHOUT THE UPHEAVAL of jumping from foot-to foot to construct piecemeal on the Vicarage Rd site.
HertsValleysHospital.co.uk say it is possibly true that a simple application of the additional funds would enable Watford to be completely re-built on the same site, but the sting in the tail is that this is only by slowly phasing the works.
This would be a failure of imagination and vision; since the realisation that we face a Climate Emergency, rising population and we are not building enough homes – the central Watford hospital debate of the last 20 years has become out-dated.
Happily there is fresh thinking breaking out; HertsValleysHospital.co.uk campaigners say this new funding could be combined with other identified sources of funding – up to a further £398m, (though plans could proceed within that figure) – and a deliverable site.
Visualisation of new hospital
“This boost, combined with a deliverable clear site, with transport integration opportunities and Green protection, delivers – more quickly and with less upheaval – the best available hospital outcome for all of West Herts population growth-centres.”
By recognising the difficulties faced by WHHT and HVCCG, HertsValleysHospital.co.uk have remained positive, in seeking to show that a new clear site hospital, equidistant from Watford, St. Albans, Hemel Hempstead, is a win-win for ALL of West Hertfordshire.
It’s also a big win for the prime minister who instead of announcing an incomplete refurbish of Watford could potentially be celebrating a new centrally located facility that benefits 6 MPs not just one of 2.
To keep up to date with our progress, join our mailing list
Busy busy busy …..
It’s been a busy couple of weeks with much confusion. On 29th September, the Health Secretary goes on TV to announce 40 new hospitals, 6 of which turn out to be works in progress which will now be brought forward.
One of them is West Herts. Trust! (hold your horses)
Is the money real? It depends who you ask and how you ask it. The Health Sec. says the six hospital projects are “ready to build” and it is “new money”. The money is coming from the treasury which is the usual place for it to come from.
In the Commons on 26th September, Sir Mike asks if the cash has been allocated to a specific area or plan in West Herts – the Minister on duty at the Despatch Box says “No formal decision has been made on the detail.”
On 30th September the PM visits Watford Hospital for a photo-opportunity. He says what you’d expect and is NOT specific about where the money will be spent. He’s also spoken to his friend, the MP for Watford and it’s all good.
He later confirms the £400m is a loan facility, which will be paid back via the CCG’s funding over the next 30 years.
So all clear then?
A few days later we receive this from West Herts trust & the CCG which confirms what we suspected. The local NHS have a plan which now has £400m that might be used on the proposal they put in in July. The good news is that none of this prevents HertsValleysHospital.co.uk from pursuing our project, because by the time the SOC (Strategic Outline Case) is ready to move on the an Outline Business Case (OBC), we hope and plan to be ready with a viable plan, with a deliverable site.
14th June 2019
Build it HERE …. for EVERYONE is GO !!!
Last night we launched our initiative to get support for a NEW hospital in the middle of the 3 towns. We handed out hundreds of leaflets and sold T-Shirts to people attending the CCG & Trust public meeting.
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.
To listen to the interview click on the play button below
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
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 ?
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.
Our thoughts exactly. It’s £220m cheaper for a greenfield compared to their estimates.
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.