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.