Proposals to build a brand-new super-hospital for West Hertfordshire have been given a boost after the scheme that they are based on was rated ‘Outstanding’ across the board by health bosses.
The Your Care, Your Future review is considering four options for an overhaul of health service in the region. Originally there were three choices on the table, but patients put forward their own suggestion for an all-new hospital, built on a new site that is equidistant from Hemel Hempstead, St Albans and Watford hospitals.
This fourth plan is based upon a recently completed scheme in Northumbria - one which has just been given the highest-possible rating by the Care Quality Commission at its emergency hospital, its local hospitals and the associated community provisions.
Ron Glatter, from the Dacorum Hospital Action Group (DHAG), said: “The Northumbria model is an NHS ‘vanguard’ which Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director of the National Health Service in England, has said is a model for all other trusts for the future.
“It would involve a central emergency hospital on a greenfield site with planned and other services at local general hospitals in the main towns, which would be developed over a period.
“It appealed to us because it has national endorsement, is cheaper than any of the other options, gives us a hospital in a much more accessible location for most of West Herts residents, and means there would still be local hospitals at Watford and St Albans, which there wouldn’t if everything was on a greenfield site.
“It seemed like the best option by far for virtually everyone in the whole area.”
The Gazette renewed its campaign over hospital services in West Hertfordshire earlier this year, following a series of incidents which highlighted the problems of people in Dacorum having to travel to Watford for their nearest A&E department.
Hemel Hempstead Hospital lost its A&E service seven years ago, and the plans to overhaul hospital services in the region could offer a one-time opportunity to open an all-new 21st century facility which can be easily accessed
Betty Harris, chairman of the DHAG, said: “This is a brilliant result and shows that this is an exciting and successful working model that is good for patients and has strong national approval.
“Let’s hope our local decision-makers are wise and bold enough to apply it here.”
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