The Health Secretary Steve Barclay recently said that the government were looking at ways to cut money from their hospital building programme by using cheap, standard designs.
This would be disastrous for Watford General and the rest of the hospitals that were due to benefit locally. The local NHS trust has a project ready to go that meets the needs of local residents and they cannot afford the delay that Stephen Barclay's inferior plans would cause. Mayor Peter Taylor and the leaders of Three Rivers District Council and St Albans City and District Council wrote a letter to Steve Barclay to make it clear that the hospital needs urgent funding and needs to deliver a high quality design for our local NHS and residents.
The leaders highlighted the strong case for the improvements to Watford General Hospital as well as hospitals in St Albans and Hemel Hempstead. They highlighted the significant ongoing costs to the NHS of repairing the old unfit buildings and the fact that the development at Watford General has already received outline planning permission.
Commenting on the need for urgent action on funding, Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor said:
“The government must unlock the funding needed for new facilities at Watford General Hospital. There have already been too many delays and without immediate investment our local hospital will find it harder and harder to treat patients effectively.
“We have worked hard with the local NHS, granting planning permission and building the award winning car park to free up the land for the hospital to fulfil its plans. The government now need to step up and do its part to build a hospital fit for the 21st Century.”
Leader of Three Rivers District Council, Cllr Sarah Nelmes added:
“These improvements will not only benefit Watford but the whole of West Hertfordshire – that is why we strongly support these plans. The local NHS trust has worked hard to make sure that they will be able to deliver excellent care for patients after the upgrades. The scheme has been independently assessed and it was found that these plans are the best and quickest way to meet the future needs of patients.”
In their letter, the Council leaders commented on Steve Barclay's plans to delay or downgrade designs due to the poor state of government finances. This would mean that some schemes, such as the one from West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, would be de-prioritised.
Leader of St Albans City and District Council, Cllr Chris White said:
“The government has dragged their feet for too long already. De-prioritising upgrades at St Albans, Watford and Hemel Hempstead would be a complete betrayal of patients, residents and the local NHS staff who are working hard in old buildings inappropriate for modern healthcare. It is not fair for residents in Hertfordshire to pay the price for this government’s mismanagement of the economy. The Health Secretary needs to act immediately to fund our local NHS.”
You can read the full letter by following this link.