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Hatfield Hospital plans scrapped

17th November 2006

Stevenage, UK – 10 November 2006 – Following its review of the clinical and financial assumptions underpinning Hertfordshire’s Investing in your Health strategy, the county’s two primary care trusts (PCTs) have today announced that the proposed new hospital in Hatfield is not affordable.

In reaching this conclusion, however, the PCTs supported the principle established through Investing in your Health that acute hospital services in east and north Hertfordshire need to be centralised on a single site. Now that the Hatfield project is no longer going ahead, the only two sites on which this can happen are at the Lister in Stevenage or the Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) in Welwyn Garden City. The PCTs are now undertaking further work to test several options, prior public consultation starting in early 2007 on the future of hospital services across Hertfordshire.

Commenting on the PCTs’ decision, the Trust’s chairman, Richard Beazley, said: “Over the last three years, our staff – along with their colleagues elsewhere in the NHS and many from the community – have worked exceptionally hard to develop plans for the proposed new hospital in Hatfield. Today’s news, therefore, will be greeted with disappointment by us all. However, we have to be realistic. Much has changed since July 2004 when the Hatfield project received the support of the then health secretary, Dr John Reid, with perhaps the biggest change being the highly challenged financial positions of virtually all the NHS organisations in Hertfordshire.?

Mr Beazley continued: “The challenge facing the Trust now is to accept the decision and to develop new proposals that will still allow us to deliver the vision set out in Investing in your Health – high-quality specialist acute services in modern facilities that allow our clinical staff to offer better and sustainable standards of care than is the case today.?

Nick Carver, the Trust’s chief executive, said: “I know that many of our staff, as well as the public, will feel very disappointed by this development. We must not lose sight, however, of the fact that the underlying principles of Investing in your Health – more patients having routine treatments in facilities closer to where they live and consolidation of specialist acute services on fewer, but bigger hospital sites – remains in place. Maintaining the status quo, therefore, is not an option for the future. Hatfield represented the Trust’s longer-term solution to its current clinical, operational and financial challenges. With its passing, the need to bring acute services together must still be addressed. We will, of course, work with our colleagues in the PCTs to ensure that they have all the information that they need to develop robust plans to take to public consultation.?

The East and North Hertfordshire and West Hertfordshire PCTs are now embarking on a period of detailed refinement of its initial analysis on the consolidation of acute hospital services across the county. This work, which is projected to be complete by the end of January 2007, will involve input from the Trust’s staff – including clinicians – on the PCTs’ proposals for the future of acute hospital services in east and north Hertfordshire.

It is anticipated that public consultation could begin as early as February 2007. With this point in mind, the East of England strategic health authority has requested that the Trust does not start its own consultation on interim service changes for women’s and children’s services, which instead should be included as an integral part of the PCTs’ consultation in the new year.

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Article Information

Title: Hatfield Hospital plans scrapped
Author: Laura E
Article Id: 1159
Date Added: 17th Nov 2006

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