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Sir Mike Penning MP support New Hospital CampaignSir Mike Penning, Member of Parliament for Hemel Hempstead, met with members of the Dacorum Hospital Action Group and the New Hospital Campaign to give his support for their legal battle with the West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust.

Following their successful day in Marlowes on Saturday, Sir Mike presented a cheque for another £500 towards the campaign.

Campaigners are raising money to fund a judicial review of the Trust’s decision to exclude the new hospital on a new site option as one of the multiple options to be considered.

Sir Mike said: “I absolutely support this legal challenge. The Trust was asked to provide a number of options and specifically excluded the new site option despite it being widely supported in the community and proven to be the best option by the New Hospital Campaign.”

I would urgently encourage local people to get behind this campaign and give the hospital campaigners full support.

New Hospital Campaign Fund Raising - 2019-10-12

Part of the team in Hemel Hempstead town centre this 'damp' October day. With a daunting task ahead of them, New Hospital Campaign volunteers braved the British October weather, asking for residents' support to raise the £20,000 required to launch the now approved judicial review.

Councillor Jan Maddern explains; "Weather-wise it's been an awful day but so many Hemel Hempstead residents have been so supportive and generous, that I could have sworn I saw the sun!"

New Hospital Campaign support from young people across DacorumPictured above with five young people, Jan said that it was very reassuring how people from all age groups and backgrounds were keen to donate to our cause. Look at those smiley happy people!

With Jan accompanied by Councillor Alexander Bhinder (behind the camera most of the time) and councillors like John Birnie (pictured left) turning up specifically to donate, there was an obvious, well, 'councillor' presence during the course of the day. Is that a cheque you're writing, John?!?!? Nash Mills Parish Councillor Alan Briggs, explains that if we all donated just one pound, we'd reach our target in no time.

At the end of the day, the group took their collections into the Metro Bank to change heavy coins into notes. Counting up while they were there, the final figure raised on the day was found to be a staggering £588. On behalf of the New Hospital Campaign, Edie would like to give a big and warm THANK YOU to everyone who donated today.

"We weren't too sure what to expect , especially with the weather but the results say it all. I'm therefore pleased to announce that today's fund raising effort will be the first of several over the next few months." explains Edie.

Ron Glatter said "People took leaflets and it was quite apparent later on in the day that many who didn't have any change on them at the time, donated on our crowd funding site, when they got home."

The total amount raised so far (12th October 2019) is £5,740 which is means that we now have more than a quarter of our £20,000 target.




New Hospital Campaign win application for judicial review 2019
Not quite time for celebration but pleased that application was successful, from left to right; Sarah Cottingham, Bob Scott, Ron Glatter and Edith Glatter.

The NHC’s legal challenge to the Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (HVCCG) to consider a new A+E hospital on a clear central site in west Hertfordshire has reached a major milestone.  This week a High Court judge approved the NHC’s application for judicial review, so it can now go forward for a full hearing.  It means there is a case to answer.

We are appealing to local residents, businesses and other organisations to support the campaign to help fund the legal case.  A low costs cap has been agreed by the court because it is judged to be a matter of public interest and we have a very favourable arrangement in place with our legal team.  We still require to meet our target of £20,000 of which supporters have so far generously donated around a quarter.  Donations can be made, anonymously if you wish, via our crowdfunding site here, or direct to our dedicated bank account:

NAME:DHAG-New Hospital Campaign
SORT CODE:30-80-49

The NHC, which is a non-political group, claims the new hospital option was dismissed as unaffordable without properly considering the evidence or holding a full public consultation as HVCCG and the West Herts Hospitals Trust (WHHT) were required to do.  It also asserts that the health bodies decided on their preferred option without holding the required public consultation.

Their plan involves renewing less than half of the dilapidated buildings and infrastructure at Watford leaving much of the rest classified as not fit for purpose.  Very little investment would be made at St. Albans, and Hemel Hempstead would be reduced to a single block for medical support enabling the rest of the estate to be sold off for housing development.

Other hospital redevelopment schemes for which similar funding has also recently been promised, such as Princess Alexandra in Harlow and St. Helier Hospital in Surrey are including new hospital options in public consultation processes.

The hospital in Vicarage Road Watford is in a dire state with much of the estate at end of life.  There is major population growth projected including one of only five ‘garden towns’ in the whole country in the area around Hemel Hempstead and St. Albans.

Edie Glatter of DHAGEdie Glatter of the NHC said “We effectively have a once and for all opportunity to secure the new state-of-the-art accessible hospital that we so desperately need.  The alternative would mean that we will leave a legacy of poor hospital healthcare facilities for years to come.

The decision to keep the dysfunctional Watford Hospital estate will not be reversed in the foreseeable future if the best part of £400 million is spent on it this time round.  Please make a donation and support our legal challenge”.


Hospital campaigners are shocked that Boris Johnson has come out in favour of the plans to spend almost £400 million on refurbishing Watford General Hospital.

The Prime Minister toured the hospital on Monday 7th October 2019, and announced that he was backing the Trust’s plans to, in their words, ‘maximise investment in Watford."

"He has clearly been briefed by the Trust, and by the Watford MP Richard Harrington, who he describes as an old friend." said Edie Glatter of the New Hospital Campaign.

Edie continues, "Why hasn’t he spoken to the other MPs whose constituencies come under the Trust? I’m sure Mike Penning would be happy to talk to him, and his views would be entirely different to Richard Harrington’s.

 It is shameful that, once again, pouring money into the decrepit and dysfunctional buildings at Watford is offered as the only solution."

Mr Johnson said the investment in Watford would result in "world class facilities". But work by building consultant Bob Scott has clearly demonstrated that even with the extra £50 million now being pledged to the Trust, the plans that have been drawn up by the Trust for Watford are not workable, and will cost far more than the amount allocated. The hospital facilities are, and will remain, a very long way from ‘world class.

"It seems the Prime Minister has only listened to one side: he has not had the chance to take note of the massive opposition to the Watford scheme across the rest of the Trust area."

"There needs to be fresh thinking, public consultation, and a new hospital on a central, accessible site needs to go back on the table." Edie said.

Surely the Prime Minister wouldn’t want to condemn the people of West Herts to sub-standard, inaccessible hospital provision for generations to come while at the same time approving the plans of the Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust in Harlow to use their funding to build a brand new state-of-the-art hospital, and to consult fully with local residents about it?

"NHS England has made it clear, in a document issued last year, that where large capital sums are involved, public consultation must take place, and that is what they are doing in Harlow." Edie said.

"The number of patients in the Harlow Trust is less than in our Trust, and they do not face the difficult journeys many of us have to make to get to our only A and E Hospitals.  Yet they have recognised the common sense solution: don’t pour good money after bad into old buildings that can never come up to modern standards. Start again, build something fit for purpose  that will be far better value for money, will cost far less to run, and will result in massively improved healthcare for the whole population. This is what should be happening in West Herts.

It is sad that the Prime Minister is unaware of the great opportunity to build a state-of-the-art hospital in an accessible location."


Plans for new hospital provision in west Hertfordshire, which are the
subject of a legal challenge by the NHC, have been comprehensively
attacked by a highly experienced construction expert, Robert Scott.

He has studied the proposals by the Herts Valleys

Clinical Commissioning Group (HVCCG) and the West Herts Hospitals NHS
Trust (WHHT) to rebuild a few of the decrepit and unsafe buildings at
Watford General Hospital, do very little work at St. Albans City Hospital
and leave Hemel Hempstead as a hospital in name only.

HVCCG and WHHT argue they faced a funding limit of £350 million from
central government and this is the best solution within that cap. However
Mr. Scott concludes his 35 page report for the NHC by stating that there
is no prospect of constructing a credible redevelopment or new build plan
within that limit. He says that the whole feasibility of the plans are
unproven and the subject of major doubt”.

He states that the assumptions made about costs have many flaws and
concludes that the cost impact of the selected option is much greater than
building a new hospital on a clear central site, so the latter option should
now be re-evaluated. He argues that the search for alternative sites was
terminated prematurely” and should now be started up again.

He estimates that the chosen option would cost far more than the stated
£350 million limit - £530 million for not even solving half the problems on
the Vicarage Road site. A single site new build could be constructed for a
broadly similar figure but savings could be made to the cost which would
not be possible via redevelopment because “it is not possible to establish
the hidden conditions of the buildings to be demolished… until they are vacated” nor can decontamination needs be established.

Also Mr. Scott considers the estimated time to finish the planned redevelopment – less than three years – is unrealistic. He says it would probably take double
this time with cost implications, and that it would certainly take longer
than a complete new build.

Mr. Scott has compared the costs of several new build hospital projects
around the country and concludes that they tend to be at least 40% lower
than those estimated for a new build hospital in west Hertfordshire, so a much
smaller figure than has been calculated would be achievable. It also
needs to be considered, says Mr. Scott, that “new buildings can be
expected to be virtually maintenance free for 7 to 10 years” whereas
partly redeveloped existing estates will keep needing attention “through
numerous failures and breakdowns”.

There would also be a negative impact on staff recruitment and retention
because of “the poor environment and disruption during the works” that
of course would not apply to a new build, which would also attract more
revenue because of higher bookings for elective surgery and treatment.
Mr. Scott says his overall verdict is that “there is no credible basis to
have excluded the Clear Site New Build options and no case for
continuing to pursue the proposed redevelopment of the Watford

The report can be read in full by clicking here

Robert Scott has had many years’ experience at a senior level in major construction
companies including several NHS projects and is a Fellow of the Chartered
Institute of Building.

The NHC believes the NHS must take the implications of this thorough
and meticulous analysis very seriously and urgently institute a change of

As reported previously the NHC has launched a legal challenge by judicial
review against HVCCG for not carrying out the required public
consultation before excluding the new hospital options, and also before
choosing their preferred option. There is a target of £20,000 to fund the
legal action and we urge the public to support this via

or direct to our bank account:

NAME:DHAG-New Hospital Campaign
SORT CODE:30-80-49

The plans referred to are known as a Strategic Outline Case (SOC) which was
approved by the HVCCG and WHHT boards on 11 July and has now been
submitted to NHS regulators for consideration.

Application for judicial review

After years of residents' concerns regarding Hospital plans in West Hertfordshire falling on deaf ears, it's time for hard action. DHAG has specifically set up the New Hospital Campaign (NHC) to fight for a single hospital in the area that will serve Watford, St. Albans and Hemel Hempstead. The latest action by NHC involves an application for a judicial review of local health bosses decisions to invest money into refurbishing local hospitals with the vast majority of investment going to Watford.

To move forward with this application, the NHC needs to raise £20,000. This is where you come in. Please click here for more information on how you can help.