Is St Albans hospital safe ?
The Dept of Health have written to the Trust. This letter was only published after requests from several of the campaign groups CLICK HERE TO READ THE LETTER It’s vitally important for everyone to understand the impact of the letter. There are those who consider that St Albans Hospital is safe, and that our proposal for the provision of a new hospital might risk the retention of any facilities in Hemel Hempstead, St Albans & Watford.
The letter is unequivocally clear. In all of the 3 NEW options, the Dept of Health supports a comparatively tiny £50m expenditure from the entire budget to be allocated to Hemel and St Albans combined. This amounts to almost ZERO money for St Albans and Hemel, apart from a paltry £50m to be shared between now and 2030 for planned care. The letter refers to deliverability by 2025. The suggestion that providing either new or refurbished facilities by that date on the current WGH site is, frankly, risible. Putting aside issues surrounding the emerging Local Plan for a moment, today’s announcement by the home secretary who says New homes and hospitals will be granted “automatic” permission to be built as part of sweeping planning reforms in England.”
The construction phase of a new build facility on a clear site could without question be considerably quicker than that offered in Watford, and so deliverability and timelines are not valid reasons to discount our proposal.
HertsValleysHospital.co.uk are keen to engage with all stakeholders in a collaborative way and do not wish to be contentious in our methods. Nevertheless we cannot ignore that based on the letter received, it could appear that the legal requirements of Treasury Green Book are being brushed aside, and that the option of a new hospital is not being given due consideration. Also, without a comparison, the required test of best use of public money can’t be satisfied. The Green Book quite specifically requires that ALL viable options are properly considered and only discounted after full analysis.
It is, therefore, quite clear that in significant figures, WHHT are NOW only seeking to refurbish and/or redevelop Watford – to the significant detriment of St Albans and Hemel.