Watford MP Richard Harrington and elected mayor Dorothy Thornhill hit back in row over new hospital

Watford MP and mayor hit back in row over new hospital

Watford MP and mayor hit back in row over new hospital

First published in News
Last updated
Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

Watford’s elected mayor and MP have returned fire after a Labour parliamentary candidate called on them to step up efforts to secure Government funding for a new hospital.

Mayor Dorothy Thornhill said plans to regenerate Watford General Hospital hinged on its health trust attaining the "quality mark" foundation status.

She said only then would West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust be able to go to the Government for support to build "desperately needed new health facilities."

Watford’s Conservative MP Richard Harrington also defended the Government’s record regarding Watford General saying it had provided funding for a road and new facilities.

Their comments come after Labour’s parliamentary candidate Matt Turmaine said the trust’s worsening financial position meant the Government needed to intervene to help provide a new "modernised hospital".

He said the MP and mayor should be "pulling out all the stops" to see Watford furnished with a new hospital.

Responding to the criticism, mayor Thornhill, a Liberal Democrat, said: "There is no problem about government funding there is a problem with the trust managing itself and its funding.

"The Government will provide money for the hospital. But as the chief executive and trustees know they have got a lot of work to do before they can go to the Government with a clear slate and say we are ready to go.

"They need to have foundation status, which is like a quality mark. When they get it the Government will come through.

"This is typical Labour: just throw money at a problem and it will be alright. There is more that needs doing in our hospital than money can put right."

Plans to redevelop Watford General Hospital have been mooted under the health campus scheme, which will develop the land behind Vicarage Road.

Currently the scheme will see a new access road build from Dalton Way and 700 new homes. However the details of the hospital rebuild will not become clear until the health trust reveals its clinical strategy.

Last week Samantha Jones, the trust’s chief executive, said the strategy may not be finalised for up to 18 months.

Mr Harrington said the Government had demonstrated its commitment to regenerating the hospital by funding recent upgrades such as the new link road.

He said: "The Government is fully behind Watford General Hospital including financially, just last year we requested funding for a new birthing centre and received one of the largest grants in the country and the new facilities are excellent.

"This was on top of several millions of pounds being given last year for improvements to the Hospital’s infrastructure, and of course this Government has funded the Health Campus Link Road to the tune of several million pounds after years of delay and inaction under the previous Government.

"We are finally seeing things happen after years of stagnation, and I meet with the trust continuously to discuss this. I also bought the Secretary of State for Health to the hospital last year and the financial position was discussed then, he is ready and waiting for the trust to produce their plans of what they want to see and the clinical review is underway as we speak."

Comments (6)

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2:50pm Wed 29 Jan 14

dontknowynot says...

I thought the road was going to a new housing development, is it really going to the hospital?
I notice the talk is of Health facilities and take this to be code for something other than what people understand by the term "NHS Hospital"; these facilities may well be run by private companies given a load of OUR money to set up and run and also catering for Private patients, a two tier system with the NHS, Watford Council and central gov all chipping in to subsidies the profits of firms that support the Conservative party and their Libdem sidekicks.
And before I get heckled for scaremongering, I am not, this is a genuine fear about what is happening at WGH
I thought the road was going to a new housing development, is it really going to the hospital? I notice the talk is of Health facilities and take this to be code for something other than what people understand by the term "NHS Hospital"; these facilities may well be run by private companies given a load of OUR money to set up and run and also catering for Private patients, a two tier system with the NHS, Watford Council and central gov all chipping in to subsidies the profits of firms that support the Conservative party and their Libdem sidekicks. And before I get heckled for scaremongering, I am not, this is a genuine fear about what is happening at WGH dontknowynot
  • Score: 10

2:58pm Wed 29 Jan 14

WD18Firm says...

So the allotments get bulldozed, Dorothy builds her houses and Mr H builds a new road to them. Job done.

Well thanks folks but this whole project was sold to the voters on the promise of building a new hospital. Now the 'Health' part of 'Watford Health Campus' appears distant and the chances of it happening are fading by the day.
So the allotments get bulldozed, Dorothy builds her houses and Mr H builds a new road to them. Job done. Well thanks folks but this whole project was sold to the voters on the promise of building a new hospital. Now the 'Health' part of 'Watford Health Campus' appears distant and the chances of it happening are fading by the day. WD18Firm
  • Score: 14

3:31pm Wed 29 Jan 14

Cuetip says...

The plain truth is that there is alot of shilly-shallying with this new hospital which is why it is called a HEALTH CAMPUS but all one sees on the horizon is a road to serve 700 housing units and a sequestration of allotments hopefully not for a car park.

Interestingly 18 months is perfectly timed for another sprinkling of money before the General Election especially as Watford is sooooo marginal.
The plain truth is that there is alot of shilly-shallying with this new hospital which is why it is called a HEALTH CAMPUS but all one sees on the horizon is a road to serve 700 housing units and a sequestration of allotments hopefully not for a car park. Interestingly 18 months is perfectly timed for another sprinkling of money before the General Election especially as Watford is sooooo marginal. Cuetip
  • Score: 5

3:38pm Wed 29 Jan 14

TRT says...

You know, when I clicked on that picture showing him & her, for some reason I started hearing the tune 'Old Ned'.
You know, when I clicked on that picture showing him & her, for some reason I started hearing the tune 'Old Ned'. TRT
  • Score: 3

5:29pm Wed 29 Jan 14

Harry Caine says...

Clearly Turmain has Rich and Dotty rattled
Clearly Turmain has Rich and Dotty rattled Harry Caine
  • Score: 3

1:23am Thu 30 Jan 14

Bloodwags says...

All very well getting holed up in the party politics but this is a matter of democracy hijacked by the elected mayor and elected MP for the sake of making their mark and securing a further term of office. They have skillfully herded and bullied the people of Watford into believing it needs a 'Health Campus' (in whose smoke and mirrors estate roads we already know the word 'health' is far from assured).

Make no mistake, it's just a development and an over-development at that. But without the extra land being sequestered from the allotment holders there would be fewer houses and impact on local roads and other amenities would be less http://wp.me/p1m3bE-
4e and since there's no immediate healthcare need, why not leave it alone?

The secretary of state for health has compulsory purchase powers so if at some future date the allotments were needed for a shiny new hospital extension, they could be acquired direct (and without planning for housing the government wouldn't have to shell out so much for it). However the allotments are owned by the Council so is this just Dorothy's way of making sure her Council gets its 'pound of flesh'?
All very well getting holed up in the party politics but this is a matter of democracy hijacked by the elected mayor and elected MP for the sake of making their mark and securing a further term of office. They have skillfully herded and bullied the people of Watford into believing it needs a 'Health Campus' (in whose smoke and mirrors estate roads we already know the word 'health' is far from assured). Make no mistake, it's just a development and an over-development at that. But without the extra land being sequestered from the allotment holders there would be fewer houses and impact on local roads and other amenities would be less http://wp.me/p1m3bE- 4e and since there's no immediate healthcare need, why not leave it alone? The secretary of state for health has compulsory purchase powers so if at some future date the allotments were needed for a shiny new hospital extension, they could be acquired direct (and without planning for housing the government wouldn't have to shell out so much for it). However the allotments are owned by the Council so is this just Dorothy's way of making sure her Council gets its 'pound of flesh'? Bloodwags
  • Score: 2

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