Health bosses are wrong - West Herts can afford a new hospital, and we can receive better healthcare.
But your support is needed say the Dacorum Patients Group, who will unveil their radical proposals at a public meeting on Friday evening.
The plans have been drawn up by Gordon Yearmouth, who has 15 years’ experience working as a hospital developer across the world.
He said: “I have seen hospitals across the globe, and the healthcare in Dacorum is some of the worst-resourced in the developed world.
“The solutions that are being put forward won’t work - that is why we have to insist upon something different.”
The area’s healthcare bosses are currently running a public consultation called Your Care Your Future, about plans to overhaul West Hertfordshire’s health set-up.
The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has presented three public options which are under consideration.
But Mr Yearmouth believes the CCG is missing a trick by failing to consider building a new hospital, which would be virtually equidistant from Hemel Hempstead, Watford and St Albans.
His proposed new hospital would have around 400 beds, good transport links, and would be purpose-built.
Watford hospital would stay and there would also still be around 50 sub-acute beds, in both Hemel Hempstead and St Albans, which would help relieve the pressure on GPs and the hospital system.
Mr Yearmouth, who has developed both acute and sub-acute hospitals, said: “We have an acute shortage of hospital beds in West Hertfordshire. Overall, this plan would mean an extra 500 beds.
“The CCG’s preferred option would result in cutting the number of beds overall – I am quite sure of that.
“At the moment we also have an awful shortage of diagnostic equipment, so that we can actually find out what’s wrong with people.
“It’s ridiculous, because it doesn’t matter how good your surgeons are – if they don’t know what’s wrong with patients then they can’t treat them properly.”
While health bosses have cited cost concerns as one reason why a new hospital is not possible, Mr Yearmouth pooh-poohed these claims.
He told the Gazette: “I’ve worked with central government and it simply doesn’t work like that.
“The whole Your Care Your Future is a bid, to the government, for funding. And they could find funds for a new hospital – because we would be building what is required, where it’s required, to the right level.”
He added: “At the moment it’s difficult to get staff to join or stay at Watford. Even worse is the difficulty of getting to Watford Hospital site if you’re a patient – especially on match day.
“A new site is the answer.”
Dacorum Patients Group’s public meeting will take place on Friday, from 7.30pm at the Adeyfield Community Centre.
MP Mike Penning and councillor Ron Tindall will also speak, and there will be time for the public to quiz the patient group on the plans and to offer suggestions.
> Don’t forget to sign our A&E petition here.