A new report by the New Hospital Campaign reveals how a complex web of commercial land deals and management indecision have left plans for Watford General - one of the first ‘Pathfinder’ wave of Government’s new hospitals - in disarray. Building delays have increased and projected costs have run out of control. Crucially, the report shows that the West Hertfordshire NHS Trust has allowed political and commercial pressures to over-ride patients’ interests.
Work to redevelop emergency care facilities at the crumbling Watford General Hospital should have been completed by 2025, but now it looks as if it could take until 2030.
The Campaign, which argues that a new emergency care hospital on a clear central site would be best for West Hertfordshire, describes the Trust’s involvement in long-standing agreements with developers Kier Property and Watford Borough Council. It shows that the Trust:
- Failed to move quickly enough between about 2013 and 2017 to make use of the opportunity to expand the Hospital onto nearby land;
- Since then, the Trust has allowed the increasingly intrusive development of up to 1000 ‘residential units’ and commercial buildings very close to the existing Hospital, to the potential detriment of patients. Watford’s proposed new hospital facility will now be forced onto half the area of the current Hospital.
The full press release can be read here. The full report can be read here, with a summary document here. News About Watford Health Campus, published by Watford Borough Council in 2012-13, is here. The Campus Agreement is here and the Collaboration Agreement between the Trust and Kier is here