Frequently Asked Questions
Where will the Herts Valley Hospital be ?
There is a strong evidence-based theory that an Acute Hospital needs to be pretty large and therefore accessible for populations from more than one major town. This is why HVH favours a greenfield site, central to St. Albans, Watford and Hemel Hempstead.
There are options. 13 sites were reviewed in the initial stages by the WHHT. Other sites have become available since then but have not been considered. We believe that ALL available sites should be considered and the best one/s ought to remain included in the outline business case.
What are the plans now
The plans have been narrowed down to a shortlist as follows :-
WGH = Watford General Hospital
SACH = St Albans City Hospital
Hemel Hempstead Hospital is not mentioned because the WHHT and HVCCG want to deal with it separately. However IF the current plan goes through for Watford and St Albans, there will only be a small need for facilities in Hemel Hempstead.
When is Hemel Hempstead Hospital closing
There is no clear date for ANYTHING closing (or opening) at this stage, but as we have seen bits are closed on a regular basis. For example the Urgent Care centre was closed overnight in Dec 2016 and it’s re-opening has been put off several times. Now the position is that the urgent care centre contract is being reviewed and there is currently a consultation on opening hours.
We believe that getting the best option for the Acute Hospital is the crucial question as it will have implications for how to organise localised provision in ways which support efficient treatment pathways, case by case.
When will Watford Hospital be rebuilt or refurbished if the current plan goes through
There are counter-claims about speed of progress; this is comparing apples and oranges. Rebuilding Watford (working in close proximity to a working hospital) is bound to be complex and probably stop-start, but does not face any debate about the site, whereas building on a new site would be a more straightforward and faster critical path, once local authorities agree on a preferred site which locals can support.
A patient-flow hospital does not later sprawl within a site, because it is designed to be efficient only up to a certain percentage of growth. This gives many years of predictable operational characteristics, while long-term planning can be based upon future best-practice in health infrastructure.
Where are we up to now in the official process
- The SOC has been approved by WHHT and HVCCG.
- It then needs to be approved by NHS England.
- Then an outline business case needs to be written (about 18 months)
- Then it needs to be reviewed and approved by WHHT and NHS England
- Then a full business case needs to be written and then approved
- Then building can start
Where is West Herts ?
There are different administrative boundaries for local councils, county councils, MP’s, and the NHS. If you’re not familiar with the different setups, it can be completely confusing (this is partly why it is such a challenge to come up with the right answer when it comes to healthcare).
In case you didn’t know, West Herts is an area spreading across a wide area from Tring to the west to Potters Bar in the south east. This area is already defined by local health authorities as “Herts Valleys”, hence “Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group – HVCCG”.