Watford General Hospital 'staying put' says town's MP

Watford Observer: Richard Harrington Richard Harrington

Watford will continue to have the main hospital for the area following an upcoming health services shake-up, the town’s MP has pledged.

Richard Harrington said Watford General Hospital is "staying put" and he "would not let" it move to a location more central to St Albans and Hemel Hempstead.

The Conservative MP also reiterated that the Government was fully committed to regenerating the hospital and was just waiting for the health trust to finalise its plans.

Earlier this year an executive from West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust said extensive discussions were going on about the future of the hospital and it was not "absolutely certain" it would remain in Watford.

The trust later issued a statement saying key services such as A&E and the maternity unit would "undoubtedly" stay in Watford after it finished drawing up its new clinical strategy.

Addressing the issue in a statement on his website, Mr Harrington said: "Firstly, Watford General Hospital is staying put, and will remain the main Hospital in South West Hertfordshire. I know there has been some scepticism about this since the UKIP mayoral candidate outlined his key pledges last month, and said that if elected he would look at moving the Hospital to a location more central to St Albans and Hemel Hempstead.

"However I will not let this happen and it has been confirmed by the NHS Trust who are responsible for delivering our health services that key services will ‘undoubtedly’ stay at Watford and this includes maternity care and our A&E."

The MP went on to list a number of improvements the Government had funded at Watford General such as its new birthing and maternity centre and a new link road.

Mr Harrington’s intervention comes as the issue of the hopsital’s regeneration is starting to become a key battleground in the forthcoming General Election campaign.

Last week the Labour parliamentary candidate, Matt Turmaine, launched a petition calling on the Government to step in and fund the hospital’s regeneration directly as the uncertainty remains over the redevelopment.

Plans to rebuild Watford General have been underway for more than a decade under the health campus project, which also aims to redevelop the land behind Vicarage.

A number of different initiatives and proposals have been drawn up under the banner of the health campus. The latest will see a larger number of new homes, up to 750, built than initially envisaged and the Farm Terrace Allotments sacrificed for the development.

However it is unclear what will happen to Watford General Hospital as the health trust has delayed unveiling its Clinical Strategy until as late as mid-2015.

Meanwhile the trust slipped into financial trouble and the hospital is dealing with a number of care issues after it failed five out of six categories in its latest Care Quality Commission inspection.

In his statement Mr Harrington added: "A key part of the long term plan is the Clinical Strategy which is currently being compiled. Essentially the Trust have gone out to nurses, doctors, midwives, patient representatives and others, and have asked for their opinion on how healthcare should be delivered locally, and what they would like to see. Once these views are received the Trust will formulate a rough picture of what the clinical staff would like taking into account different views and priorities.

"Once this has been refined, which will no doubt be with further input from staff at Watford, the Clinical Strategy will be put forward as a proposal. The Health Secretary confirmed when he visited Watford General that he is ready and waiting for this to happen.

"Importantly the Clinical Strategy will include provision for the Health Campus development, which will lead to the regeneration of West Watford. The plans for the Health Campus have been outlined and will include not just new healthcare facilities but also more green space, new homes, new services including shops and community facilities, and more jobs. This teamed with the new train station which I have secured for Vicarage Road as part of the Government’s investment into Croxley Rail Link, will mean a much brighter future for West Watford.

"Once the Trust report with their Clinical Strategy we will know more about the long term investment and new facilities which will happen at Watford General. But, in the meantime, work and investment is continuing, and the Government continue to invest in Watford General and we will see more improvements over the next 12 months. During this time I will continue to work closely with Samantha Jones, the Chief Executive of our NHS Trust, who is doing an excellent job so far."

Comments (13)

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5:16pm Mon 17 Mar 14

Andrew1963 says...

How will he stop it? It is more likely that Watford general will be down graded and the main A&E hospital for the Watford are will become Northwick
Park. In fact That would be more convenient than st albans by public transport, and you would get doctors as Northwick park attracts higher salaries as it is in London. Your surgeon could still live in Loudwater and get more pay at Northwick Park than currently at Watford, so they would be happy too.
How will he stop it? It is more likely that Watford general will be down graded and the main A&E hospital for the Watford are will become Northwick Park. In fact That would be more convenient than st albans by public transport, and you would get doctors as Northwick park attracts higher salaries as it is in London. Your surgeon could still live in Loudwater and get more pay at Northwick Park than currently at Watford, so they would be happy too. Andrew1963
  • Score: 6

5:28pm Mon 17 Mar 14

TRT says...

"...which I have secured for..."
Claiming credit for some else's work? Can you take this guy seriously? And he seems to be better placed to make clinical judgments than the clinical managers now...
When politicians start meddling in things like this and go all ape-muck paddywhack when they don't get their own way is when it devolves from unfortunate into a farce.
Harrington... sniff your fingers. I reckon they smell of the pie you've got your thumb stuck in. You're standing to profit from this somehow... trust you about as far as I could throw you.
"...which I have secured for..." Claiming credit for some else's work? Can you take this guy seriously? And he seems to be better placed to make clinical judgments than the clinical managers now... When politicians start meddling in things like this and go all ape-muck paddywhack when they don't get their own way is when it devolves from unfortunate into a farce. Harrington... sniff your fingers. I reckon they smell of the pie you've got your thumb stuck in. You're standing to profit from this somehow... trust you about as far as I could throw you. TRT
  • Score: 7

5:41pm Mon 17 Mar 14

Cuetip says...

First it was called the 'Health Campus' with promises that it would some state of the art brand new hospital not annexes.

Secondly five years ago it was saved with tablets of stone promises

It then metamorphosed into an ever expanding housing development of ever increasing hundreds of homes.

Allotment land was seized to make the 'Health Campus' viable.

Now it is decoupled from the 'Health Campus'.

All we have now is a wait and see promise that Watford General Hospital will not move to a location more central to St Albans and Hemel Hempstead conveniently and strategically timed for the election with shedloads of promises.

No money on the table as the Health Trust is in trouble
First it was called the 'Health Campus' with promises that it would some state of the art brand new hospital not annexes. Secondly five years ago it was saved with tablets of stone promises It then metamorphosed into an ever expanding housing development of ever increasing hundreds of homes. Allotment land was seized to make the 'Health Campus' viable. Now it is decoupled from the 'Health Campus'. All we have now is a wait and see promise that Watford General Hospital will not move to a location more central to St Albans and Hemel Hempstead conveniently and strategically timed for the election with shedloads of promises. No money on the table as the Health Trust is in trouble Cuetip
  • Score: -5

6:44pm Mon 17 Mar 14

garry.armstrong232@btinternet.com says...

h0ope your telling the truth cos if your not you know i will get you next time i see you
h0ope your telling the truth cos if your not you know i will get you next time i see you garry.armstrong232@btinternet.com
  • Score: -2

6:56pm Mon 17 Mar 14

johnhornet says...

I wonder how much has been spent so far on the health campus, and the Croxley Rail link? How many consultants have got rich before anything tangible happens? OK so now the rail link will happen, but is the "Health Campus" just a name for a big housing estate with new direct access to the M1?
The irony of it is that they probably wont plan to put so much as a doctors surgery in it, and then look surprised when there's no school places again......
I wonder how much has been spent so far on the health campus, and the Croxley Rail link? How many consultants have got rich before anything tangible happens? OK so now the rail link will happen, but is the "Health Campus" just a name for a big housing estate with new direct access to the M1? The irony of it is that they probably wont plan to put so much as a doctors surgery in it, and then look surprised when there's no school places again...... johnhornet
  • Score: 5

7:04pm Mon 17 Mar 14

Phil Cox - UKIP Mayoral candidate for Watford says...

With such a small majority Harrington will not be on watch after 2015 so any promises he makes now are about as solid as those ghost pictures we saw here a few days ago.

The people of Watford deserve better.

Stop the hospital con. Vote Ukip.
With such a small majority Harrington will not be on watch after 2015 so any promises he makes now are about as solid as those ghost pictures we saw here a few days ago. The people of Watford deserve better. Stop the hospital con. Vote Ukip. Phil Cox - UKIP Mayoral candidate for Watford
  • Score: -3

8:28pm Mon 17 Mar 14

jasonwatford says...

Phil Cox - UKIP Mayoral candidate for Watford wrote:
With such a small majority Harrington will not be on watch after 2015 so any promises he makes now are about as solid as those ghost pictures we saw here a few days ago.

The people of Watford deserve better.

Stop the hospital con. Vote Ukip.
Your a joke Phil Cox , I wouldn't buy a 2nd hand car off you and more people will see through you as you go on.
[quote][p][bold]Phil Cox - UKIP Mayoral candidate for Watford[/bold] wrote: With such a small majority Harrington will not be on watch after 2015 so any promises he makes now are about as solid as those ghost pictures we saw here a few days ago. The people of Watford deserve better. Stop the hospital con. Vote Ukip.[/p][/quote]Your a joke Phil Cox , I wouldn't buy a 2nd hand car off you and more people will see through you as you go on. jasonwatford
  • Score: 4

9:42pm Mon 17 Mar 14

yellow hornet says...

jasonwatford wrote:
Phil Cox - UKIP Mayoral candidate for Watford wrote:
With such a small majority Harrington will not be on watch after 2015 so any promises he makes now are about as solid as those ghost pictures we saw here a few days ago.

The people of Watford deserve better.

Stop the hospital con. Vote Ukip.
Your a joke Phil Cox , I wouldn't buy a 2nd hand car off you and more people will see through you as you go on.
Phil on the 6th of March at 10.37 you posted;

Phil Cox - UKIP Mayoral candidate for Watford says...

I also know what I would do differently as Mayor. Our manifesto should be on our website next week so please keep an eye out for it. It will explain what we believe needs to change to turn our council into the sort of council people will be proud of.

I suppose that statement was an aspiration and not a promise?
[quote][p][bold]jasonwatford[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Phil Cox - UKIP Mayoral candidate for Watford[/bold] wrote: With such a small majority Harrington will not be on watch after 2015 so any promises he makes now are about as solid as those ghost pictures we saw here a few days ago. The people of Watford deserve better. Stop the hospital con. Vote Ukip.[/p][/quote]Your a joke Phil Cox , I wouldn't buy a 2nd hand car off you and more people will see through you as you go on.[/p][/quote]Phil on the 6th of March at 10.37 you posted; Phil Cox - UKIP Mayoral candidate for Watford says... I also know what I would do differently as Mayor. Our manifesto should be on our website next week so please keep an eye out for it. It will explain what we believe needs to change to turn our council into the sort of council people will be proud of. I suppose that statement was an aspiration and not a promise? yellow hornet
  • Score: 10

2:27am Tue 18 Mar 14

John Dowdle says...

Much of what is being said by various actors about the hospital is based on nothing firm. Almost everything that will happen will not take place before the general election in 2015. While I am happy to accept Richard Harrington's assurances, they are predicated upon him winning the Watford parliamentary seat in 2015 and with Watford being so close I am not sure we can bank on Richard still being Watford's MP after May 2015.
In which case, what then?
Much of what is being said by various actors about the hospital is based on nothing firm. Almost everything that will happen will not take place before the general election in 2015. While I am happy to accept Richard Harrington's assurances, they are predicated upon him winning the Watford parliamentary seat in 2015 and with Watford being so close I am not sure we can bank on Richard still being Watford's MP after May 2015. In which case, what then? John Dowdle
  • Score: 5

10:12am Tue 18 Mar 14

Harry Caine says...

John Dowdle wrote:
Much of what is being said by various actors about the hospital is based on nothing firm. Almost everything that will happen will not take place before the general election in 2015. While I am happy to accept Richard Harrington's assurances, they are predicated upon him winning the Watford parliamentary seat in 2015 and with Watford being so close I am not sure we can bank on Richard still being Watford's MP after May 2015.
In which case, what then?
Exactly who is "predicting" Rich Harrington winning? Would that be his Bank Manager, because he spent an awful lot of money to "win" in 2010
[quote][p][bold]John Dowdle[/bold] wrote: Much of what is being said by various actors about the hospital is based on nothing firm. Almost everything that will happen will not take place before the general election in 2015. While I am happy to accept Richard Harrington's assurances, they are predicated upon him winning the Watford parliamentary seat in 2015 and with Watford being so close I am not sure we can bank on Richard still being Watford's MP after May 2015. In which case, what then?[/p][/quote]Exactly who is "predicting" Rich Harrington winning? Would that be his Bank Manager, because he spent an awful lot of money to "win" in 2010 Harry Caine
  • Score: 4

10:42am Tue 18 Mar 14

HornetJJ says...

I can’t even believe this is being discussed. The hospital has to remain in Watford. If they were to move it then our nearest hospital would be Northwick Park which is a terrible hospital. It would become even worse with it having to deal with an even wider area!
I can’t even believe this is being discussed. The hospital has to remain in Watford. If they were to move it then our nearest hospital would be Northwick Park which is a terrible hospital. It would become even worse with it having to deal with an even wider area! HornetJJ
  • Score: 12

1:25pm Tue 18 Mar 14

LocalBoy1 says...

Richard Harrington said Watford General Hospital is "staying put"...... Is it? Well the government of the day (which unfortunately happens the Tories) has a nasty habit of bulldozing over the wishes of county or local people!
Richard Harrington said Watford General Hospital is "staying put"...... Is it? Well the government of the day (which unfortunately happens the Tories) has a nasty habit of bulldozing over the wishes of county or local people! LocalBoy1
  • Score: -1

6:54pm Tue 18 Mar 14

#UKMum says...

Harrington voted in favour of the Hospital Closure Clause 119 and his colleague Jeremy Hunt tried to shut Lewisham A&E but was unsuccessful due to a vigorous defence mounted by Activists. Watch out Watford.
Harrington voted in favour of the Hospital Closure Clause 119 and his colleague Jeremy Hunt tried to shut Lewisham A&E but was unsuccessful due to a vigorous defence mounted by Activists. Watch out Watford. #UKMum
  • Score: -1

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