Patients to suffer as Trust struggles to pay for Watford tower blocks

West Herts Trust will be making big cuts next year as it tries to get ready for the huge financial hit of Watford’s new tower block hospital.

The regional NHS body, the ICB, has been told that the Trust will be looking for ‘efficiencies’ of £21m in 2024-25. But the Trust will still be running a deficit of nearly £25million by the end of that year. The Trust had been hoping to almost break even, so that it could be confident of funding the £1.3bn, 260-foot building with its three closely-packed high-rises.

No such luck. The Trust is deeply in the red and will remain there for the foreseeable future.

Other trusts have money troubles, but West Herts is being especially over-optimistic. It is trying to build the tallest NHS building outside Central London on a (comparatively) modest income of about £500m.

The result – patient services will have to be hit hard to try to get the books straight.

And the money situation will get worse for the Trust if it tries to build at Watford General. ‘Elective’ income will plummet as patients with a choice stay away from what will become a cramped building site.

Time for a radical rethink before the Trust’s cash crisis turns into a care crisis.