Local social media is full of anger over reports that Hemel Hempstead Hospital – or what is left of it after years of w West Herts Trust neglect – is to close. Just one example from scores of complaints on the Next Door newsfeed:

Who else disagrees with our Hemel Hospital closing down for good. It’s a disgusting idea. I understand that there’s not much available at Hemel at the moment but it’s there. Not everyone has transport and the public transport is not the greatest. It seems they want young families here but no Hospital.

It looks very much as if Hemel Hospital IS slated for closure, but the full story is a bit more complicated.

The Council hope to build a ‘Health Campus’ on the site of the Market Square in the Marlowes. This would be a substantial building which MIGHT house social care, primary care and other bodies as well as the services currently provided by the Hospital., with some small tweaks. It would be a sort of replacement for the Hospital.

It might help with regeneration of the town.

But …

If that is all, it’s unlikely to add much healthcare value. There’s little point in moving just the limited current NHS services from Hemel Hospital over to the Market Square. 

What we need to press for is BETTER AND MORE COMPREHENSIVE health and hospital services for the growing and ageing population of Hemel and Dacorum.  We will need those as Watford General deteriorates and undergoes massive disruption as the Trust try to build their £1.2 bn tower block hospital there.

Or even better, we should have a new hospital on a new site.