West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust (WHHT) finally produced a public survey in September asking local residents to give their views on hospital services.
The survey was rushed out and unfairly favoured development at the Vicarage Road site of Watford General Hospital. It was inaccurate in relation to the review of other sites that the Trust had previously commissioned. The New Hospital Campaign noted the following flaws along with others:
- The survey fails to provide the public with genuine options - it was published the same day as the draft shortlist which only includes Vicarage Road options;
- Was hastily put on the Trust website and gave respondents just 11 days to complete it;
- It was wide open to manipulation because the online form can be filled in multiple times by the same person at the same computer;
- It contained leading questions encouraging the public to support options at Vicarage Road
Furthermore, the CEO of WHHT urged readers in the Watford Observer to complete the survey but her letter did not appear in equivalent newspapers covering Dacorum and St. Albans District.
Twice before we have had petitions reaching over 10,000 signatures for a new hospital on a clear central site and there are many active groups online that share the same view. But the Trust and Herts Valleys CCG have consistently side-lined it.
In summary, the data collected from this survey should not be presented as an accurate representation of public opinion.
Click here for the full press release
Click here for the NHC paper on '9 Major Flaws'