Comment: ‘Health’ part of ‘health campus’ remains curiously elusive

What is a health campus? That question is more perplexing than it may initially seem.

For a decade the term has been a catch-all for a variety of plans to redevelop Watford General Hospital and the land behind Vicarage Road.

Even after the release of the project’s latest masterplan this week, accompanying PR fanfare, what it exactly promises remains vexingly unclear.

When the term was initially coined more than ten years ago, it was part of successful efforts to convince the cash-strapped health trust to retain emergency services at Watford General Hospital with the promise of a wider development of the area.

Fast forward to 2007 and the redevelopment had morphed into the promise of a brand new 600-bed hospital, funded by a private finance initiative, with 500 new homes.

Then the country lapsed into recession and the PFI scheme, which needed considerable backing from the private sector, hit the wall. Since then another plan has been devised under the health campus banner. Controversially, this latest scheme involves using the site’s previously protected Farm Terrace allotment land.

The decision, which politicians claimed was necessary to make the project “viable”, has provoked an acrimonious legal dispute between the council, the Government and plot-holders.

It also involves more houses than originally proposed, the latest figure is 700. So the campus part of the scheme is looking decidedly more crowded than the ‘open plan’ the word suggests.

Also, talk of a new 600-bed hospital has devolved to the vague promise of new “health facilities”.

When the health campus partners announced the unveiling of the new masterplan this week, it was not unreasonable for people to expect it to furnish this currently vague plan with some more detail.

The graphic did tell us there will be a new school, a mini park, a riverside walk, a community green and a “central square” in the redevelopment.

But all that was offered on the health aspect were a number of buildings labelled “possible future hospital development zone”.

The council has also now said the masterplan is only “indicative” and could change as the project progresses. The reason details about the hospital side are so sketchy was because the clinical strategy West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust is developing will not be finalised until next month at the earliest.

Without such crucial detail all the PR hoopla over the masterplan this week seems premature and bizarrely timed.

The primary purpose of the health campus has always been to build a new hospital in Watford and all other development was a side issue. Instead what people in Watford have at the moment is an ever-expanding amount of development – 500 homes, then 600 and now 700 – and still no idea what the health element of the deal entails.

On top of this, the hospital trust has still not obtained the foundation status necessary to give it the financial independence to take part in a regeneration scheme.

Huge questions about how any new hospital will be funded remain. And until these fundamental blanks are filled in there is no definitive answer to that decade-old question: What is a health campus?

Comments (21)

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12:37pm Fri 17 Jan 14

TRT says...

Worse, they've secured the funds to start the bulldozers rolling over Oxhey Park playing fields. That's due to happen within the next few months, allegedly. The new access road seems to be being presented as an entirely separate development, with it's own funding and planning permission; not a contingent of any other development plan.

In a scenario eerily reminiscent of the blighting of a strip of properties down Rickmansworth Road, compulsory purchase and redevelopment notices now hang over the town's Irish Club and the associated sports pitches. The same is true of the area of commercial land where once stood Wiggenhall Road / Croxley depot. Thankfully the businesses operating there appear to be easily mobile, but it cannot help them secure business loans as and when required if the future of their operating base hangs in the balance.
Worse, they've secured the funds to start the bulldozers rolling over Oxhey Park playing fields. That's due to happen within the next few months, allegedly. The new access road seems to be being presented as an entirely separate development, with it's own funding and planning permission; not a contingent of any other development plan. In a scenario eerily reminiscent of the blighting of a strip of properties down Rickmansworth Road, compulsory purchase and redevelopment notices now hang over the town's Irish Club and the associated sports pitches. The same is true of the area of commercial land where once stood Wiggenhall Road / Croxley depot. Thankfully the businesses operating there appear to be easily mobile, but it cannot help them secure business loans as and when required if the future of their operating base hangs in the balance. TRT
  • Score: 12

12:42pm Fri 17 Jan 14

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

It's an absolute scandal.
It's an absolute scandal. Phil Cox (UKIP)
  • Score: 11

1:20pm Fri 17 Jan 14

Andrew Turpie says...

"Health Campus - Phrase used by some unscrupulous individuals to dupe voters into agreeing to building shoebox size residencies into an already overpopulated area whilst at the same time completely sticking heads in sand regarding the current creaking at the seams infrastructure. To qualify for Health Campus status, it's imperative that locals near by have their perfectly good allotments bulldozed then tell the wold that the ground is contaminated, along with social clubs and anything else social related must be destroyed as part of a Health Campus plan. A Health Campus can only exist within built up towns and under no circumstances can a Health Campus reside in outer town open space areas with better access to all motorways"

For more examples of Health Campus see Keir, Thornhill etc.....
"Health Campus - Phrase used by some unscrupulous individuals to dupe voters into agreeing to building shoebox size residencies into an already overpopulated area whilst at the same time completely sticking heads in sand regarding the current creaking at the seams infrastructure. To qualify for Health Campus status, it's imperative that locals near by have their perfectly good allotments bulldozed then tell the wold that the ground is contaminated, along with social clubs and anything else social related must be destroyed as part of a Health Campus plan. A Health Campus can only exist within built up towns and under no circumstances can a Health Campus reside in outer town open space areas with better access to all motorways" For more examples of Health Campus see Keir, Thornhill etc..... Andrew Turpie
  • Score: 15

1:41pm Fri 17 Jan 14

pernix says...

So ... if you look at the latest map very carefully, the allotments are now going to have a car park for Watford Football Club on them. So much for our mayor's contention that allotment holders were just being selfish and standing in the way of a new hospital being built for the good of the whole town, etc. etc. The council's submission to Eric Pickles' department to get the protected status of the allotments overturned didn't mention a car park. Come on, people of Watford! Don't have the wool pulled over your eyes! Go to the Public Exhibition at WFC today or tomorrow, or the Town Hall on Thursday 30th, and object!
So ... if you look at the latest map very carefully, the allotments are now going to have a car park for Watford Football Club on them. So much for our mayor's contention that allotment holders were just being selfish and standing in the way of a new hospital being built for the good of the whole town, etc. etc. The council's submission to Eric Pickles' department to get the protected status of the allotments overturned didn't mention a car park. Come on, people of Watford! Don't have the wool pulled over your eyes! Go to the Public Exhibition at WFC today or tomorrow, or the Town Hall on Thursday 30th, and object! pernix
  • Score: 19

5:12pm Fri 17 Jan 14

Harry Bee says...

At last after all the spin from Watford Council and their constructing chums Kier, 80% of the "HEALTH" Campus is housing, retail and offices. The other 20% assigned to Watford Hospital does not have any funding as yet!

Also it seems to have slipped the Council's mind that the current population density of Vicarage Road where the "HEALTH" campus will be built is 89% compared to the borough average of approx 40%. I wonder then where the best place would be then to build another 700 homes!

Oh yes and I wonder where the plans are so residents can park approx 1,000 cars. So far since the initial plans for the "HEALTH" campus were mooted in 2007 the number of homes has risen from 350 to 600 (2013) to 700 (2015). I wonder how many more can be crammed in before 2014 is out and larger profits from the project split between the Council and Kier.

I have lived in West Watford since 1996 and have slowly seen more and more and more development leaving us very little green space compared to other parts of Watford. It is not time to stop before the fabric of this area becomes one large concrete jungle.
At last after all the spin from Watford Council and their constructing chums Kier, 80% of the "HEALTH" Campus is housing, retail and offices. The other 20% assigned to Watford Hospital does not have any funding as yet! Also it seems to have slipped the Council's mind that the current population density of Vicarage Road where the "HEALTH" campus will be built is 89% compared to the borough average of approx 40%. I wonder then where the best place would be then to build another 700 homes! Oh yes and I wonder where the plans are so residents can park approx 1,000 cars. So far since the initial plans for the "HEALTH" campus were mooted in 2007 the number of homes has risen from 350 to 600 (2013) to 700 (2015). I wonder how many more can be crammed in before 2014 is out and larger profits from the project split between the Council and Kier. I have lived in West Watford since 1996 and have slowly seen more and more and more development leaving us very little green space compared to other parts of Watford. It is not time to stop before the fabric of this area becomes one large concrete jungle. Harry Bee
  • Score: 16

5:29pm Fri 17 Jan 14

dontknowynot says...

It is so heartening to see the WO vocalise the same concerns people from a wide political spectrum have raised. Motably a prominent Libdem said that if the road went across the park it would be over his dead body, well that was soon forgotten. A prominent Tory actively campaigned to save allotments in Watford and brought in an act to protect them, but that was 80-90 years ago his name was Sir Kingsley Wood and it is his act that save farm terrace are using to protect their allotment’s.
UKIP who would quite happily frack the whole country and normally have no room for green issues seem to be on the side of angels her, I suppose in a year of euro elections this makes sense for them but actually would credit them on this issue with being right and not just right in the cynical sense that it is an expediency for them. This would be first for me as I disagree with all other of their policy’s
Labour have campaigned and I believe given support to the Save farm Terrace cause, they have done this consistently and ought to be commended from all sides really in making democracy work or at least playing their part in holding the executive to account.
But it is the change from Health Campus to commercial property development highlighted by the WO that is the biggest evil here. As I recall it was to be a 600 bed hospital and was to have an enhanced teaching roll, hence Health Campus, this would have meant better health services, research medicine etc in Watford, but it is no more.
Since the formation of the Coalition we have had the privatisation of the NHS act which means that schemes like this take on a new dynamic. What we have is a new development under a new kind of NHs where money earning from say rental of the units will be as important as looking after patients, the trust can now earn money from other sources and the structure of this development can be manipulated as mixed development to give various partners more profit. For instance the new buildings could be partially owned by the Trust and private investors this then would mean they could be leased and the trust would get some of the money as such although it may be earmarked as a site for health it would not necessarily be in the interest of the trust to use it as such.
I think once used for other stuff the chances of it being released for other use is very slim, the naming of it as a health campus is sadly as the WO rightly highlights misleading at the least
It is so heartening to see the WO vocalise the same concerns people from a wide political spectrum have raised. Motably a prominent Libdem said that if the road went across the park it would be over his dead body, well that was soon forgotten. A prominent Tory actively campaigned to save allotments in Watford and brought in an act to protect them, but that was 80-90 years ago his name was Sir Kingsley Wood and it is his act that save farm terrace are using to protect their allotment’s. UKIP who would quite happily frack the whole country and normally have no room for green issues seem to be on the side of angels her, I suppose in a year of euro elections this makes sense for them but actually would credit them on this issue with being right and not just right in the cynical sense that it is an expediency for them. This would be first for me as I disagree with all other of their policy’s Labour have campaigned and I believe given support to the Save farm Terrace cause, they have done this consistently and ought to be commended from all sides really in making democracy work or at least playing their part in holding the executive to account. But it is the change from Health Campus to commercial property development highlighted by the WO that is the biggest evil here. As I recall it was to be a 600 bed hospital and was to have an enhanced teaching roll, hence Health Campus, this would have meant better health services, research medicine etc in Watford, but it is no more. Since the formation of the Coalition we have had the privatisation of the NHS act which means that schemes like this take on a new dynamic. What we have is a new development under a new kind of NHs where money earning from say rental of the units will be as important as looking after patients, the trust can now earn money from other sources and the structure of this development can be manipulated as mixed development to give various partners more profit. For instance the new buildings could be partially owned by the Trust and private investors this then would mean they could be leased and the trust would get some of the money as such although it may be earmarked as a site for health it would not necessarily be in the interest of the trust to use it as such. I think once used for other stuff the chances of it being released for other use is very slim, the naming of it as a health campus is sadly as the WO rightly highlights misleading at the least dontknowynot
  • Score: 9

6:01pm Fri 17 Jan 14

TRT says...

Don't forget the 100 bed hotel and the three storey, 550 space car park which will be accessed from the already double parked Cardiff Road (it's the unlabelled brown thing underneath Farm Terrace in the released plan).

There's a document floating around of a council meeting held in December 2013. It's convincing reading. I can see exactly the reasoning behind the plan to use FT, and on the face of it, I agree with them! BUT I maintain that West Watford is the wrong place for a Health Campus of the kind envisaged in 2007. A health campus with consolidated A&E provision for SW Herts, research facilities, high-tech biomedical and related manufacturing companies, pharmaceutical development and private diagnostic services etc. i.e. medical/health germane businesses employing a reasonable percentage of people living ON the campus in affordable housing designed to retain skilled but underpaid researchers, scientists, designers etc within the country.

But that's not going to happen. No-one is going to stump up for anything where the reward is kudos alone. WBC are far more likely to p*** money up the wall in unsecured loans to hospitals (we've learned), palliating Warner Brothers Chiefs (aka WBCs, obviously siblings-in-acronym!
) and overpaying benefits instead of using that money to put Watford back on the map. A map, I might add, that could once upon a time have been printed in Watford. Yes, once Watford, Croxley, Apsley etc were synonymous with printing and paper. Amersham is or was a world leader in pharma, incidentally the very first victim of the Thatcher hatchet. Our close proximity to that screams that we should be embracing the medical support industry, encouraging manufacturing back to the borough. Instead, our elected representatives subscribe to the current trend where the greatest aspiration a town can have is to become a Makkah of mega-mall shopping centre commercialism a'la The Westfields, Thurrock, Bicester, Brent Cross, Hatfield, Blue Water.

A lack of vision, a lack of common sense and a disturbing willingness to line the pockets of developers and landlords; I call it "Watford disease". Who's developing a cure for that?
Don't forget the 100 bed hotel and the three storey, 550 space car park which will be accessed from the already double parked Cardiff Road (it's the unlabelled brown thing underneath Farm Terrace in the released plan). There's a document floating around of a council meeting held in December 2013. It's convincing reading. I can see exactly the reasoning behind the plan to use FT, and on the face of it, I agree with them! BUT I maintain that West Watford is the wrong place for a Health Campus of the kind envisaged in 2007. A health campus with consolidated A&E provision for SW Herts, research facilities, high-tech biomedical and related manufacturing companies, pharmaceutical development and private diagnostic services etc. i.e. medical/health germane businesses employing a reasonable percentage of people living ON the campus in affordable housing designed to retain skilled but underpaid researchers, scientists, designers etc within the country. But that's not going to happen. No-one is going to stump up for anything where the reward is kudos alone. WBC are far more likely to p*** money up the wall in unsecured loans to hospitals (we've learned), palliating Warner Brothers Chiefs (aka WBCs, obviously siblings-in-acronym! ) and overpaying benefits instead of using that money to put Watford back on the map. A map, I might add, that could once upon a time have been printed in Watford. Yes, once Watford, Croxley, Apsley etc were synonymous with printing and paper. Amersham is or was a world leader in pharma, incidentally the very first victim of the Thatcher hatchet. Our close proximity to that screams that we should be embracing the medical support industry, encouraging manufacturing back to the borough. Instead, our elected representatives subscribe to the current trend where the greatest aspiration a town can have is to become a Makkah of mega-mall shopping centre commercialism a'la The Westfields, Thurrock, Bicester, Brent Cross, Hatfield, Blue Water. A lack of vision, a lack of common sense and a disturbing willingness to line the pockets of developers and landlords; I call it "Watford disease". Who's developing a cure for that? TRT
  • Score: 10

6:07pm Fri 17 Jan 14

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

TRT wrote:
Don't forget the 100 bed hotel and the three storey, 550 space car park which will be accessed from the already double parked Cardiff Road (it's the unlabelled brown thing underneath Farm Terrace in the released plan). There's a document floating around of a council meeting held in December 2013. It's convincing reading. I can see exactly the reasoning behind the plan to use FT, and on the face of it, I agree with them! BUT I maintain that West Watford is the wrong place for a Health Campus of the kind envisaged in 2007. A health campus with consolidated A&E provision for SW Herts, research facilities, high-tech biomedical and related manufacturing companies, pharmaceutical development and private diagnostic services etc. i.e. medical/health germane businesses employing a reasonable percentage of people living ON the campus in affordable housing designed to retain skilled but underpaid researchers, scientists, designers etc within the country. But that's not going to happen. No-one is going to stump up for anything where the reward is kudos alone. WBC are far more likely to p*** money up the wall in unsecured loans to hospitals (we've learned), palliating Warner Brothers Chiefs (aka WBCs, obviously siblings-in-acronym! ) and overpaying benefits instead of using that money to put Watford back on the map. A map, I might add, that could once upon a time have been printed in Watford. Yes, once Watford, Croxley, Apsley etc were synonymous with printing and paper. Amersham is or was a world leader in pharma, incidentally the very first victim of the Thatcher hatchet. Our close proximity to that screams that we should be embracing the medical support industry, encouraging manufacturing back to the borough. Instead, our elected representatives subscribe to the current trend where the greatest aspiration a town can have is to become a Makkah of mega-mall shopping centre commercialism a'la The Westfields, Thurrock, Bicester, Brent Cross, Hatfield, Blue Water. A lack of vision, a lack of common sense and a disturbing willingness to line the pockets of developers and landlords; I call it "Watford disease". Who's developing a cure for that?
UKIP
[quote][p][bold]TRT[/bold] wrote: Don't forget the 100 bed hotel and the three storey, 550 space car park which will be accessed from the already double parked Cardiff Road (it's the unlabelled brown thing underneath Farm Terrace in the released plan). There's a document floating around of a council meeting held in December 2013. It's convincing reading. I can see exactly the reasoning behind the plan to use FT, and on the face of it, I agree with them! BUT I maintain that West Watford is the wrong place for a Health Campus of the kind envisaged in 2007. A health campus with consolidated A&E provision for SW Herts, research facilities, high-tech biomedical and related manufacturing companies, pharmaceutical development and private diagnostic services etc. i.e. medical/health germane businesses employing a reasonable percentage of people living ON the campus in affordable housing designed to retain skilled but underpaid researchers, scientists, designers etc within the country. But that's not going to happen. No-one is going to stump up for anything where the reward is kudos alone. WBC are far more likely to p*** money up the wall in unsecured loans to hospitals (we've learned), palliating Warner Brothers Chiefs (aka WBCs, obviously siblings-in-acronym! ) and overpaying benefits instead of using that money to put Watford back on the map. A map, I might add, that could once upon a time have been printed in Watford. Yes, once Watford, Croxley, Apsley etc were synonymous with printing and paper. Amersham is or was a world leader in pharma, incidentally the very first victim of the Thatcher hatchet. Our close proximity to that screams that we should be embracing the medical support industry, encouraging manufacturing back to the borough. Instead, our elected representatives subscribe to the current trend where the greatest aspiration a town can have is to become a Makkah of mega-mall shopping centre commercialism a'la The Westfields, Thurrock, Bicester, Brent Cross, Hatfield, Blue Water. A lack of vision, a lack of common sense and a disturbing willingness to line the pockets of developers and landlords; I call it "Watford disease". Who's developing a cure for that?[/p][/quote]UKIP Phil Cox (UKIP)
  • Score: -1

11:07pm Fri 17 Jan 14

theguitarman says...

The land between the "B&Q" one way system aka Dalton Way was always earmarked to have a road built on it. When I moved to Watford 25 years ago there was a scheme, since shelved, for a link road to run from the corner of the one way system just passed the entrance to B&Q to run across the Oxhey Park, through the Irish Club ( which has never been a permanent building and always scheduled to be demolished) then across Wiggenhall road to Cardiff road through what is currently builder depots and waste land. From there it follows the route of the old railway line across the flood plain to Tolpits Lane. To say that this scheme is new isn't exactly true, it is a revamp of something over 25 years old. I still have the A0 plan for this project.
The land between the "B&Q" one way system aka Dalton Way was always earmarked to have a road built on it. When I moved to Watford 25 years ago there was a scheme, since shelved, for a link road to run from the corner of the one way system just passed the entrance to B&Q to run across the Oxhey Park, through the Irish Club ( which has never been a permanent building and always scheduled to be demolished) then across Wiggenhall road to Cardiff road through what is currently builder depots and waste land. From there it follows the route of the old railway line across the flood plain to Tolpits Lane. To say that this scheme is new isn't exactly true, it is a revamp of something over 25 years old. I still have the A0 plan for this project. theguitarman
  • Score: 4

8:02am Sat 18 Jan 14

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

It's a terrible shame to lose any parkland for a housing scheme. It would appear the LibDems prefer money over greenery.

It really is time for a change in Watford.
It's a terrible shame to lose any parkland for a housing scheme. It would appear the LibDems prefer money over greenery. It really is time for a change in Watford. Phil Cox (UKIP)
  • Score: -2

10:52am Sat 18 Jan 14

TRT says...

theguitarman wrote:
The land between the "B&Q" one way system aka Dalton Way was always earmarked to have a road built on it. When I moved to Watford 25 years ago there was a scheme, since shelved, for a link road to run from the corner of the one way system just passed the entrance to B&Q to run across the Oxhey Park, through the Irish Club ( which has never been a permanent building and always scheduled to be demolished) then across Wiggenhall road to Cardiff road through what is currently builder depots and waste land. From there it follows the route of the old railway line across the flood plain to Tolpits Lane. To say that this scheme is new isn't exactly true, it is a revamp of something over 25 years old. I still have the A0 plan for this project.
If I recall correctly the previous scheme you outlined above was a West Watford relief road. In previous health campus plans the new road serves only the hospital and businesses. Through traffic. would be ruled out by design. Even in this masterplan the farm terrace housing will be only accessible from Cardiff Road. That will impact the junction with Wiggenhall without remedial work. As it is, that junction jams up back to Vicarage road if there's a right turner that's held up by northbound traffic. There's no room for two lanes on the ramp up to the bridge. And you can't fit in a one way round those narrow roads. As was said earlier, the social benefit on the road is limited. And there's always a danger with a complex network that adding a path can slow the whole system down.
[quote][p][bold]theguitarman[/bold] wrote: The land between the "B&Q" one way system aka Dalton Way was always earmarked to have a road built on it. When I moved to Watford 25 years ago there was a scheme, since shelved, for a link road to run from the corner of the one way system just passed the entrance to B&Q to run across the Oxhey Park, through the Irish Club ( which has never been a permanent building and always scheduled to be demolished) then across Wiggenhall road to Cardiff road through what is currently builder depots and waste land. From there it follows the route of the old railway line across the flood plain to Tolpits Lane. To say that this scheme is new isn't exactly true, it is a revamp of something over 25 years old. I still have the A0 plan for this project.[/p][/quote]If I recall correctly the previous scheme you outlined above was a West Watford relief road. In previous health campus plans the new road serves only the hospital and businesses. Through traffic. would be ruled out by design. Even in this masterplan the farm terrace housing will be only accessible from Cardiff Road. That will impact the junction with Wiggenhall without remedial work. As it is, that junction jams up back to Vicarage road if there's a right turner that's held up by northbound traffic. There's no room for two lanes on the ramp up to the bridge. And you can't fit in a one way round those narrow roads. As was said earlier, the social benefit on the road is limited. And there's always a danger with a complex network that adding a path can slow the whole system down. TRT
  • Score: 4

5:25pm Sun 19 Jan 14

chrissw says...

I recently received my regular e-mail update from our MP, Mr Richard Harrington. (Note that my receiving this email does not imply my support for him or his party!) Even he is remarkably vague about anything health-related in this so-called "Health Campus" project.

This comes from his email:

"...how the Hospital will be redeveloped...is currently in the hands of the doctors and clinicians working on their clinical view...this should tell us what they want to see. We can then look at how this will work on the ground and could potentially be taken forward."

Quite apart from the fact that this "Health Campus" project is a number of years old, and we still don't have a clue about what it has to do with health, note especially the hedging of bets here, with words like "could" and "potentially" ensuring that there is absolutely no committment to any health-related schemes within the project. Even if the clinicians do come up with some reasonable plans, the project's leaders might find that they can't make it "work on the ground." And if they don't come up with any plans, then the project can still claim that they gave the hospital the opportunity.

I'm led to deep suspicion of exactly who is going to benefit the most from these plans. I'm sure I don't need to repeat these suspicions, which have been amply described by at least one other commenter.
I recently received my regular e-mail update from our MP, Mr Richard Harrington. (Note that my receiving this email does not imply my support for him or his party!) Even he is remarkably vague about anything health-related in this so-called "Health Campus" project. This comes from his email: "...how the Hospital will be redeveloped...is currently in the hands of the doctors and clinicians working on their clinical view...this should tell us what they want to see. We can then look at how this will work on the ground and could potentially be taken forward." Quite apart from the fact that this "Health Campus" project is a number of years old, and we still don't have a clue about what it has to do with health, note especially the hedging of bets here, with words like "could" and "potentially" ensuring that there is absolutely no committment to any health-related schemes within the project. Even if the clinicians do come up with some reasonable plans, the project's leaders might find that they can't make it "work on the ground." And if they don't come up with any plans, then the project can still claim that they gave the hospital the opportunity. I'm led to deep suspicion of exactly who is going to benefit the most from these plans. I'm sure I don't need to repeat these suspicions, which have been amply described by at least one other commenter. chrissw
  • Score: 7

5:25pm Wed 22 Jan 14

West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust says...

Letter to the Editor
Watford Observer
from West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Dear Sir, I thought it important to reply to your recent column (‘Health’ part of ‘health campus’ remains curiously elusive, Watford Observer, 17 January 2014) about the Watford Health Campus scheme.
I wanted to make it absolutely clear that we are 100% committed to the project as we believe it offers significant benefits for our patients, staff and local people.
People who visited the recent public exhibitions or have looked at the consultation website (www.whc-consultatio
n.co.uk) will see an outline of ‘possible future hospital development zones’, covering a significant area to the south of the current hospital site.
However, as things stand, the detail of what will be where is unclear. That’s because we are in the process of developing a detailed clinical strategy for the long term future of our hospitals.
Led by our doctors, nurses, midwives and other staff, this will set out what services we will provide and where.
We are already talking with our partners, patient representatives and others about the strategy and we hope to finalise the plans over the next year to 18 months.
Once we have this, we will be able to let people have more detail and show how, as appropriate, we will use the ‘zones’ allocated to the hospital.
Finally, just to be clear that our involvement in the scheme is not predicated on us being an NHS foundation trust. It would of course be helpful (as it would, for instance, allow us to borrow money from places non-foundation trusts can’t), but it’s not absolutely necessary.
I hope this helps clarifies our position and I would encourage people to attend the final exhibition on 30 January at Watford Town Hall, 10am to 1.30pm (or to visit the project website).

Samantha Jones
Chief Executive
West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust
Letter to the Editor Watford Observer from West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust Dear Sir, I thought it important to reply to your recent column (‘Health’ part of ‘health campus’ remains curiously elusive, Watford Observer, 17 January 2014) about the Watford Health Campus scheme. I wanted to make it absolutely clear that we are 100% committed to the project as we believe it offers significant benefits for our patients, staff and local people. People who visited the recent public exhibitions or have looked at the consultation website (www.whc-consultatio n.co.uk) will see an outline of ‘possible future hospital development zones’, covering a significant area to the south of the current hospital site. However, as things stand, the detail of what will be where is unclear. That’s because we are in the process of developing a detailed clinical strategy for the long term future of our hospitals. Led by our doctors, nurses, midwives and other staff, this will set out what services we will provide and where. We are already talking with our partners, patient representatives and others about the strategy and we hope to finalise the plans over the next year to 18 months. Once we have this, we will be able to let people have more detail and show how, as appropriate, we will use the ‘zones’ allocated to the hospital. Finally, just to be clear that our involvement in the scheme is not predicated on us being an NHS foundation trust. It would of course be helpful (as it would, for instance, allow us to borrow money from places non-foundation trusts can’t), but it’s not absolutely necessary. I hope this helps clarifies our position and I would encourage people to attend the final exhibition on 30 January at Watford Town Hall, 10am to 1.30pm (or to visit the project website). Samantha Jones Chief Executive West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Score: -3

5:33pm Wed 22 Jan 14

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

Samantha,

thank you for taking the time to reply. You will see that a number of people are wondering whether the "Health Campus" is a smokescreen for development.

If it's not absolutely necessary to be an NHS Foundation Trust for the new hospital to go ahead, where will the money come from?

What, if anything, is Plan B and what is the timescale?
Samantha, thank you for taking the time to reply. You will see that a number of people are wondering whether the "Health Campus" is a smokescreen for development. If it's not absolutely necessary to be an NHS Foundation Trust for the new hospital to go ahead, where will the money come from? What, if anything, is Plan B and what is the timescale? Phil Cox (UKIP)
  • Score: 3

6:33pm Wed 22 Jan 14

TRT says...

Seconded, good of you to reply, Samantha. However, given the fact that these plans should have been gone over with a fine tooth comb by lots of different parties BEFORE being released to the press and the public, I find the phrase "...an outline of ‘possible future hospital development zones’ " somewhat lacking in commitment. If the somewhat shorter "Hospital development zone" had been used, I'm sure myself, the WO and many others would not be questioning the "health" part of "health campus".

Language is a tool used by politicians and diplomats to cloud and subvert. Messages put out loud and clear, without vagueness or hand-waving, have been subject to retrospective amendment and overturning by a succession of notable individuals; Boris and his ticket offices, Clegg and his tuition fees, Cameron and his aircraft carriers, climate change levy, etc etc.

So when Joe Public sees "Possible hospital development zone", next to very clear labels for car parks, housing, commercial property etc. it screams of instability, insecurity, non-commitment etc.

Now, Samantha, I'm a proponent of not building an A&E hospital in the most congested corner of its catchment area, preferring instead somewhere out near the M1/M25 junction, roughly equidistant between Hemel, Watford and St. Albans. What say you to such plans? Are you committed to that site?
Seconded, good of you to reply, Samantha. However, given the fact that these plans should have been gone over with a fine tooth comb by lots of different parties BEFORE being released to the press and the public, I find the phrase "...an outline of ‘possible future hospital development zones’ " somewhat lacking in commitment. If the somewhat shorter "Hospital development zone" had been used, I'm sure myself, the WO and many others would not be questioning the "health" part of "health campus". Language is a tool used by politicians and diplomats to cloud and subvert. Messages put out loud and clear, without vagueness or hand-waving, have been subject to retrospective amendment and overturning by a succession of notable individuals; Boris and his ticket offices, Clegg and his tuition fees, Cameron and his aircraft carriers, climate change levy, etc etc. So when Joe Public sees "Possible hospital development zone", next to very clear labels for car parks, housing, commercial property etc. it screams of instability, insecurity, non-commitment etc. Now, Samantha, I'm a proponent of not building an A&E hospital in the most congested corner of its catchment area, preferring instead somewhere out near the M1/M25 junction, roughly equidistant between Hemel, Watford and St. Albans. What say you to such plans? Are you committed to that site? TRT
  • Score: 5

1:08pm Mon 27 Jan 14

chrissw says...

Samantha,
Why on earth is the "public exhibition" being held at the Town Hall for such a limited time, and during working hours?

I will be working at that time, and so will, I guess, pretty much everyone who may be interested in the exhibition.

It looks like you've taken a leaf out of the privatised railway companies' book on public relations, namely: keep it obscure, keep it short, and keep it away from the public.
Samantha, Why on earth is the "public exhibition" being held at the Town Hall for such a limited time, and during working hours? I will be working at that time, and so will, I guess, pretty much everyone who may be interested in the exhibition. It looks like you've taken a leaf out of the privatised railway companies' book on public relations, namely: keep it obscure, keep it short, and keep it away from the public. chrissw
  • Score: 4

1:06pm Wed 29 Jan 14

TRT says...

Just had the email newsletter from Dotty's office claiming that the response to the consultation so far has been 'overwhelmingly positive'. Obviously some strange new definition of the words 'overwhelming' and 'positive' have been added to the dictionary. Mind you, if the audience attending is primarily composed of the developers themselves, their employees or other lackeys, as the somewhat bizarre and restricted public consultation hours would seem to suggest, then I'm not surprised.

Chrissw above is spot on with that comment!
Just had the email newsletter from Dotty's office claiming that the response to the consultation so far has been 'overwhelmingly positive'. Obviously some strange new definition of the words 'overwhelming' and 'positive' have been added to the dictionary. Mind you, if the audience attending is primarily composed of the developers themselves, their employees or other lackeys, as the somewhat bizarre and restricted public consultation hours would seem to suggest, then I'm not surprised. Chrissw above is spot on with that comment! TRT
  • Score: 3

1:08pm Wed 29 Jan 14

TRT says...

I mean obviously the hospital are so bowled over by the plans that they immediately put the consultation boards and feedback forms etc. etc. in the waiting room of the A&E, or the Friends Tea Bar, where I'm sure that many hundreds of hospital visitors who might actually be interested stake holders in a health campus development have several hours to sit around twiddling their thumbs if the latest waiting list figures are to be believed...
I mean obviously the hospital are so bowled over by the plans that they immediately put the consultation boards and feedback forms etc. etc. in the waiting room of the A&E, or the Friends Tea Bar, where I'm sure that many hundreds of hospital visitors who might actually be interested stake holders in a health campus development have several hours to sit around twiddling their thumbs if the latest waiting list figures are to be believed... TRT
  • Score: 3

1:33pm Wed 29 Jan 14

chrissw says...

A very good point.

Did you, Samantha, Dorothy, and perhaps Richard Harrington as well, even think about putting anything in the public areas of Watford General? It's a genuine question, since I have been fortunate enough not to have had to visit the hospital recently. Actually the last time was a few months ago, and I don't remember seeing anything in A&E then, but perhaps that was because my eyes were playing up, being the reason why I was there.
A very good point. Did you, Samantha, Dorothy, and perhaps Richard Harrington as well, even think about putting anything in the public areas of Watford General? It's a genuine question, since I have been fortunate enough not to have had to visit the hospital recently. Actually the last time was a few months ago, and I don't remember seeing anything in A&E then, but perhaps that was because my eyes were playing up, being the reason why I was there. chrissw
  • Score: 2

2:18pm Wed 29 Jan 14

pernix says...

When I attended the exhibition held in the bowels of the football club, I suggested to the organisers that they might think about taking it somewhere where people actually passed by, such as the Harlequin Centre/Intu whatever. They said, "Oh, what a good idea, we should definitely think about doing that!"
I'm still holding my breath ...
When I attended the exhibition held in the bowels of the football club, I suggested to the organisers that they might think about taking it somewhere where people actually passed by, such as the Harlequin Centre/Intu whatever. They said, "Oh, what a good idea, we should definitely think about doing that!" I'm still holding my breath ... pernix
  • Score: 2

2:30pm Wed 29 Jan 14

TRT says...

pernix wrote:
When I attended the exhibition held in the bowels of the football club, I suggested to the organisers that they might think about taking it somewhere where people actually passed by, such as the Harlequin Centre/Intu whatever. They said, "Oh, what a good idea, we should definitely think about doing that!"
I'm still holding my breath ...
One of the allotment shops, perhaps...
[quote][p][bold]pernix[/bold] wrote: When I attended the exhibition held in the bowels of the football club, I suggested to the organisers that they might think about taking it somewhere where people actually passed by, such as the Harlequin Centre/Intu whatever. They said, "Oh, what a good idea, we should definitely think about doing that!" I'm still holding my breath ...[/p][/quote]One of the allotment shops, perhaps... TRT
  • Score: 2

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