Doubts grow over health Trust timetable claims

Hospital campaigners have raised serious questions over claims made by the West Herts Hospital Trust that new hospital facilities at Watford General can be built by about 2025.

The New Hospital Campaign (NHC) believes a new hospital should be built on a clear central site in west Hertfordshire, while the Trust insists on redeveloping the Watford site. The Campaign has now written to the newly-installed leader of the Government’s campaign to build 40 new hospitals nationally, pointing out serious errors in the Trust’s arguments for building at Watford, and calling on her to order an urgent investigation and review of the facts before irrevocable decisions are made.

The Trust’s argument for building at Watford rather than on a new clear site rests mainly on an estimate in a Site Feasibility Study (SFS) produced by Royal Free Property Services – a close corporate partner of the West Herts Trust – that claimed that new facilities could be provided at Watford by 2025 or 2026, to meet a government-imposed deadline.

A detailed review by Mike Naxton, an independent construction planning specialist, has cast doubt on the SFS estimate, saying that work under the Trust’s plans would probably continue until 2030. A new hospital on a clear site could, according to Mr Naxton, be built more rapidly. The Trust has not challenged the facts of the Naxton review.

For our full response and analysis, please click here to read the full article