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COUNCIL SCRUTINY OF HOSPITAL PLANS DUBBED A ‘FARCE’

The New Hospital Campaign (NHC), which is fighting for a new A+E hospital on a clear, central site in west Hertfordshire, has branded a Hertfordshire County Council scrutiny meeting a “farce” and “grotesquely unbalanced”.

The meeting, which was held to scrutinise the West Hertfordshire Hospital Trust’s plans to renovate Watford General Hospital and make minor improvements at St. Albans and Hemel Hempstead hospitals, was called a ‘topic group’ of the County’s health scrutiny committee. It was held on 8 February. The group supported the Trust’s plans though one councillor disagreed.

The NHC had asked to make a presentation at the meeting but received no reply to their request. Altogether the Trust and other local health bodies were allowed to dominate the all-day proceedings with 15 minutes at the start allocated to ‘public witnesses’.

This is despite the fact that an online survey run by the Trust last September showed that a large majority of the 3000 plus respondents disagreed with the plans, and that there have been two petitions on the parliamentary website, each recording more than 10,000 residents demanding a hospital on a new, accessible site.
A spokesperson for the Group called the meeting “a farce and grotesquely unbalanced”, adding that it reached “truly bizarre conclusions, including that the Trust’s plans did not amount to ‘substantial development of service requiring formal consultation with the Committee’, even though it involved the expenditure of hundreds of millions of pounds with implications over many decades to come”.

You can read the full press release on this meeting here. We are keen to hear from our supporters about their views or if they are able to help our campaign. Please get in touch by emailing info@dhag.org.uk