Watford health campus: new hospital on site 'highly unlikely' says Mayor Dorothy Thornhill

Watford health campus: new hospital on site 'highly unlikely' says Mayor Dorothy Thornhill

Watford health campus: new hospital on site 'highly unlikely' says Mayor Dorothy Thornhill

First published in News Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

Watford’s mayor Dorothy Thornhill has admitted "an actual brand-spanking new plonked-on-the-site hospital is highly unlikely".

She has confirmed the original aspiration for a new 600-bed hospital on the Health Campus development would not be realised, pointing to the £13.4million deficit recorded by the West Herfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust this year.

Mayor Thornhill said: "The trust has made it quite clear to me and to our Member of Parliament that given the state of her things at the hospital that an actual brand-spanking new plonked-on-the-site hospital is highly unlikely to happen.

"Therefore, quite rightly, you have pointed out that I have changed what I said.

"Because I don’t know about you, but if the circumstances change I change.

"If the trust is telling me that this is an aspiration that will not be realised, but what they are hoping to do is to have new facilities."

Watford Observer:

She continued: "That’s what will happen over time. When the trust has got itself sorted out there will be new buildings."

Mayor Thornhill was pressed on the issue at the 2014 Mayoral Hustings on Monday, where a member of the public asked if the words "health campus" should be taken out the project name of the West Watford regeneration plans.

She maintained that at the heart of the scheme would be provision for a new hospital - now provision for new hospital buildings.

Initially a brand new 600-bed hospital was promised to replace the ailing Watford General as part of the controversial development.

West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust’s own chief executive Samantha Jones has described Watford General’s buildings as "not-fit-for purpose" and Labour Leader Ed Miliband branded the hospital "in serious need of modernisation" when he visited last month.

Mayor Thornhill faced criticism that the Health Campus plans only allocate space on which to build future hospital buildings when the trust’s financial situation improves, whereas work to create new car parks, shops and 750 new homes on the site is set to go ahead.

She confirmed that shortly after the general election there will be a decision about which of the Trust’s three sites are to be developed.

She continued: "We had hoped that the first one would be a new maternity block, in fact we were most disappointed when the new chief executive decided she wanted to put that on hold and do her clinical strategy.

"It was always a redevelopment plan. It was always about jobs, it was always about homes and it was always about regenerating derelict land. And it still is."

Comments (27)

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5:26pm Thu 22 May 14

E.Coli says...

Wow we did not see that coming. I will not go on to say vote for someone as no doubt the rest of the comments will.
Wow we did not see that coming. I will not go on to say vote for someone as no doubt the rest of the comments will. E.Coli
  • Score: 14

5:47pm Thu 22 May 14

Olak12 says...

Why do you need the allotments then - one of the only green spaces left in West Watford if there is no new hospital? That is why the Lib Dems said that they had to go so that we could have a shiny new hospital. We were led to believe that those who wanted to keep the allotments were standing in the way of progress - when in fact there is no progress - when there is no hospital. I feel angry about this and can't help feeling that the electorate of Watford have been deceived. Dorothy won't get my vote anymore.
Why do you need the allotments then - one of the only green spaces left in West Watford if there is no new hospital? That is why the Lib Dems said that they had to go so that we could have a shiny new hospital. We were led to believe that those who wanted to keep the allotments were standing in the way of progress - when in fact there is no progress - when there is no hospital. I feel angry about this and can't help feeling that the electorate of Watford have been deceived. Dorothy won't get my vote anymore. Olak12
  • Score: 29

6:27pm Thu 22 May 14

watfordrick says...

Nice one WO Headline at 17.20 on polling day!
Nice one WO Headline at 17.20 on polling day! watfordrick
  • Score: 13

6:45pm Thu 22 May 14

crazyfrog says...

I wonder how many people who voted for thornhill this morning are now reading this and choking on their dinner right now !! NO NEW HOSPITAL because the health campus is a con and you fell for it hook line and sinker !
I wonder how many people who voted for thornhill this morning are now reading this and choking on their dinner right now !! NO NEW HOSPITAL because the health campus is a con and you fell for it hook line and sinker ! crazyfrog
  • Score: 24

7:18pm Thu 22 May 14

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

Dorothy has been conning the town over this for months.

It has been nothing but a con for quite some time now.

If she had any shame she would feel it now. Instead, I suspect she is gloating over haven gotten away with it for so long.

What sort of Mayor does that?
Dorothy has been conning the town over this for months. It has been nothing but a con for quite some time now. If she had any shame she would feel it now. Instead, I suspect she is gloating over haven gotten away with it for so long. What sort of Mayor does that? Phil Cox - UKIP Mayoral candidate for Watford
  • Score: 20

7:37pm Thu 22 May 14

croxley46 says...

You've got to go DOROTHY , preferably to OZ where you can perhaps indoctrinate your WIZARD schemes down under, but I suspect the Aussies wont be so gullible to them as we've been.
You've got to go DOROTHY , preferably to OZ where you can perhaps indoctrinate your WIZARD schemes down under, but I suspect the Aussies wont be so gullible to them as we've been. croxley46
  • Score: 15

7:58pm Thu 22 May 14

TRT says...

And d*** you too, Dorothy, for selling out the values of your supporters in the past.
And d*** you too, Dorothy, for selling out the values of your supporters in the past. TRT
  • Score: 8

8:08pm Thu 22 May 14

watfordrick says...

Lets EGG her on her Victory parade !
Lets EGG her on her Victory parade ! watfordrick
  • Score: 9

8:25pm Thu 22 May 14

flnghornet1 says...

just got back from polling station and put a big X next to Phil Cox. Good luck tonight Phil. This town is crying out for someone like you, someone who really cares
just got back from polling station and put a big X next to Phil Cox. Good luck tonight Phil. This town is crying out for someone like you, someone who really cares flnghornet1
  • Score: 11

8:28pm Thu 22 May 14

#UKMum says...

Blimey and there I was thinking the whole thing was signed, sealed and delivered. Lordy silly me!
Blimey and there I was thinking the whole thing was signed, sealed and delivered. Lordy silly me! #UKMum
  • Score: 12

8:41pm Thu 22 May 14

WD18Firm says...

So predictable.
The mayor has one hell of a brass neck to announce that on Polling Day after most votes have been cast.
She has no shame.
So predictable. The mayor has one hell of a brass neck to announce that on Polling Day after most votes have been cast. She has no shame. WD18Firm
  • Score: 21

9:53pm Thu 22 May 14

BCB69 says...

That's our Dotty for you, and to all of you voters who voted for her, you now get what you deserve if she gets in as our Mayor we can only hope that she is booted out and all the Liberal cronies with her. Dotty will only ever look after herself for ever and ever.
That's our Dotty for you, and to all of you voters who voted for her, you now get what you deserve if she gets in as our Mayor we can only hope that she is booted out and all the Liberal cronies with her. Dotty will only ever look after herself for ever and ever. BCB69
  • Score: 12

10:19pm Thu 22 May 14

Sec.andTreasurer says...

Dorothy Thornhill says that if circumstances change, she changes. Will she tell us what circumstances changed that caused her to change about running for a second term as Mayor, in 2006?

When the idea of a mayor of Watford, elected by universal plebiscite, was first mooted in 2002, her party said that it did not agree with the idea and that it was only putting up a candidate because all the other major parties were doing so. She, as that candidate, added that not only did she not agree with the idea, but that if elected, she would only serve for ONE four-year term. I was at the meeting, in Friend's Meeting House and chaired by Rev. Dick Lewis, when these things were said.

As I write this, the clerks are counting--or possibly weighing--her majority, after her THIRD re-election!!
Dorothy Thornhill says that if circumstances change, she changes. Will she tell us what circumstances changed that caused her to change about running for a second term as Mayor, in 2006? When the idea of a mayor of Watford, elected by universal plebiscite, was first mooted in 2002, her party said that it did not agree with the idea and that it was only putting up a candidate because all the other major parties were doing so. She, as that candidate, added that not only did she not agree with the idea, but that if elected, she would only serve for ONE four-year term. I was at the meeting, in Friend's Meeting House and chaired by Rev. Dick Lewis, when these things were said. As I write this, the clerks are counting--or possibly weighing--her majority, after her THIRD re-election!! Sec.andTreasurer
  • Score: 9

10:25pm Thu 22 May 14

Felinefrenzi says...

God I hope she has not got in, dishonest and disgraceful !
I for one did not vote for her !!!
God I hope she has not got in, dishonest and disgraceful ! I for one did not vote for her !!! Felinefrenzi
  • Score: 9

10:35pm Thu 22 May 14

Garston03 says...

All I can say is 'Disgraceful! So more pressure on the hospital when all those houses are built too!
All I can say is 'Disgraceful! So more pressure on the hospital when all those houses are built too! Garston03
  • Score: 12

12:15am Fri 23 May 14

garston tony says...

This information should have been released before today. Other posters are right, people who have voted for Dotty today may not have had theyd known this. Poor poor show WO
This information should have been released before today. Other posters are right, people who have voted for Dotty today may not have had theyd known this. Poor poor show WO garston tony
  • Score: 7

12:48am Fri 23 May 14

Andrew1963 says...

This revelation will come as a great shock to Cllr George Derbyshire and others who used to write regularly to WO saying that building on the allotments was a sad cost of getting a brand new hospital. mind you his letters were written for him by the Mayors husband, so he should have
worried about what "his" public comments would be seen to be when the truth came out
This revelation will come as a great shock to Cllr George Derbyshire and others who used to write regularly to WO saying that building on the allotments was a sad cost of getting a brand new hospital. mind you his letters were written for him by the Mayors husband, so he should have worried about what "his" public comments would be seen to be when the truth came out Andrew1963
  • Score: 6

1:11am Fri 23 May 14

Andrew1963 says...

By the way, people who bothered to look at the publicly available reports and documents on the Trusts website, knew more than three years ago that there was not going to be a new hospital. If the mayor says the circumstances have changed recently, she is either disinterested in finding out what the facts are or decided to ignore them. Both would be motivated by a desire to push through a plan that generated lots of money for the council. No doubt to finance current and future vanity projects to help project the mayor and her party.
By the way, people who bothered to look at the publicly available reports and documents on the Trusts website, knew more than three years ago that there was not going to be a new hospital. If the mayor says the circumstances have changed recently, she is either disinterested in finding out what the facts are or decided to ignore them. Both would be motivated by a desire to push through a plan that generated lots of money for the council. No doubt to finance current and future vanity projects to help project the mayor and her party. Andrew1963
  • Score: 5

8:43am Fri 23 May 14

Hampermill-Mike says...

Can we clear one thing up. The site has become known as "The Health Campus". This is slightly misleading as the word campus means "Land with a university, college or hospital" and it doesn't mean it actually has any buildings !. Look up the meaning for campus on Google etc.

To assume that " the new health campus" was going to have a stonking brand new hospital was never correct. The Doctors and Management have been asked what they want built and so far this is only at talks level. When and only when they say "we want a brand new hospital" should Watford's residents and politicians and uncle tom cobbly and all start to comment on it.

Meanwhile, lets get on with building a better access road to an already stretched road system to allow traffic move more freely.

And thanks to Watford General and its staff for doing a very demanding job under difficult circumstances.
Can we clear one thing up. The site has become known as "The Health Campus". This is slightly misleading as the word campus means "Land with a university, college or hospital" and it doesn't mean it actually has any buildings !. Look up the meaning for campus on Google etc. To assume that " the new health campus" was going to have a stonking brand new hospital was never correct. The Doctors and Management have been asked what they want built and so far this is only at talks level. When and only when they say "we want a brand new hospital" should Watford's residents and politicians and uncle tom cobbly and all start to comment on it. Meanwhile, lets get on with building a better access road to an already stretched road system to allow traffic move more freely. And thanks to Watford General and its staff for doing a very demanding job under difficult circumstances. Hampermill-Mike
  • Score: -4

9:12am Fri 23 May 14

TRT says...

Hampermill-Mike wrote:
Can we clear one thing up. The site has become known as "The Health Campus". This is slightly misleading as the word campus means "Land with a university, college or hospital" and it doesn't mean it actually has any buildings !. Look up the meaning for campus on Google etc.

To assume that " the new health campus" was going to have a stonking brand new hospital was never correct. The Doctors and Management have been asked what they want built and so far this is only at talks level. When and only when they say "we want a brand new hospital" should Watford's residents and politicians and uncle tom cobbly and all start to comment on it.

Meanwhile, lets get on with building a better access road to an already stretched road system to allow traffic move more freely.

And thanks to Watford General and its staff for doing a very demanding job under difficult circumstances.
No you're right we never assumed that. We were told that. In 2009/2010 whilst labour were in power, there was funding for this scheme; new hospital, 350 homes, health related business units etc.
When this evaporated under ConDem for some bizarre reason the development group reckoned it could still do something. Maybe the cash symbols were clouding their vision. But someone had the gall to go to Whitehall and lie about the allotments being needed for a hospital.

As for the road, only a rear access to the area is needed and only because of the cost once CRL is running. Leave Oxhey Park's playing fields alone. The M1 access is a stipulation of the health trust because they recognise that Vicarage Road is the wrong place for an acute treatment centre for the whole of SW Herts because of the traffic situation. So out of the box thinking here, build a new purpose built hospital somewhere with good access. Something with business space, Pfizer want a UK base, tap them for a bit, somewhere with affordable homes for nurses and junior doctors and cleaners and researchers. Yes, it will cost more but it will be better value than the invisible costs of squeezing West Watford further; we hear the notional cost of transport failure and societal problems.
[quote][p][bold]Hampermill-Mike[/bold] wrote: Can we clear one thing up. The site has become known as "The Health Campus". This is slightly misleading as the word campus means "Land with a university, college or hospital" and it doesn't mean it actually has any buildings !. Look up the meaning for campus on Google etc. To assume that " the new health campus" was going to have a stonking brand new hospital was never correct. The Doctors and Management have been asked what they want built and so far this is only at talks level. When and only when they say "we want a brand new hospital" should Watford's residents and politicians and uncle tom cobbly and all start to comment on it. Meanwhile, lets get on with building a better access road to an already stretched road system to allow traffic move more freely. And thanks to Watford General and its staff for doing a very demanding job under difficult circumstances.[/p][/quote]No you're right we never assumed that. We were told that. In 2009/2010 whilst labour were in power, there was funding for this scheme; new hospital, 350 homes, health related business units etc. When this evaporated under ConDem for some bizarre reason the development group reckoned it could still do something. Maybe the cash symbols were clouding their vision. But someone had the gall to go to Whitehall and lie about the allotments being needed for a hospital. As for the road, only a rear access to the area is needed and only because of the cost once CRL is running. Leave Oxhey Park's playing fields alone. The M1 access is a stipulation of the health trust because they recognise that Vicarage Road is the wrong place for an acute treatment centre for the whole of SW Herts because of the traffic situation. So out of the box thinking here, build a new purpose built hospital somewhere with good access. Something with business space, Pfizer want a UK base, tap them for a bit, somewhere with affordable homes for nurses and junior doctors and cleaners and researchers. Yes, it will cost more but it will be better value than the invisible costs of squeezing West Watford further; we hear the notional cost of transport failure and societal problems. TRT
  • Score: 1

9:32am Fri 23 May 14

Hampermill-Mike says...

Thanks TRT for your comment but hat's not the point I made. The project is called "The Health Campus" and is a play on words. It doesn't mean its a hospital or one will be built. What is in the background is the fact that Watford General Doctors and Management have not yet told anyone what they want.

If you agree, then that's what we should all be focusing our words and efforts on, finding out when they will decide to ask for something.

I could come up with the idea for a "Shopping Campus" in a field. I doesn't mean it will have shops, it might just be an area for a giant car boot ground.

Now there's an idea !!
Thanks TRT for your comment but hat's not the point I made. The project is called "The Health Campus" and is a play on words. It doesn't mean its a hospital or one will be built. What is in the background is the fact that Watford General Doctors and Management have not yet told anyone what they want. If you agree, then that's what we should all be focusing our words and efforts on, finding out when they will decide to ask for something. I could come up with the idea for a "Shopping Campus" in a field. I doesn't mean it will have shops, it might just be an area for a giant car boot ground. Now there's an idea !! Hampermill-Mike
  • Score: 2

10:01am Fri 23 May 14

TRT says...

Or a Scouts and Guides Association venture... a camp campus.
Or a Scouts and Guides Association venture... a camp campus. TRT
  • Score: 0

12:23pm Fri 23 May 14

Sec.andTreasurer says...

Well, Dotty got her fourth term, as I predicted last night but I stand corrected on one detail. A normally reliable source has informed me that the 2002 hustings meeting I mentioned, was held in St, Thomas' URC, NOT in Friend's Meeting House.
Well, Dotty got her fourth term, as I predicted last night but I stand corrected on one detail. A normally reliable source has informed me that the 2002 hustings meeting I mentioned, was held in St, Thomas' URC, NOT in Friend's Meeting House. Sec.andTreasurer
  • Score: 0

12:53pm Fri 23 May 14

Andrew1963 says...

Hampermill-Mike wrote:
Thanks TRT for your comment but hat's not the point I made. The project is called "The Health Campus" and is a play on words. It doesn't mean its a hospital or one will be built. What is in the background is the fact that Watford General Doctors and Management have not yet told anyone what they want.

If you agree, then that's what we should all be focusing our words and efforts on, finding out when they will decide to ask for something.

I could come up with the idea for a "Shopping Campus" in a field. I doesn't mean it will have shops, it might just be an area for a giant car boot ground.

Now there's an idea !!
The term Health Campus was coined with the Single Regeneration budget scheme for West Watford. Watford council bought the old power station site for £2 million to stop it being sold to a waste management firm. The purchase (opposed at the time by the mayor and her husband as irresponsible) allowed the council with its other land at Cardiff road industrial estate to build a vision for a new hospital, with high tech medical related companies opening businesses on the rest of the developed site (not including allotments). So a hospital and drug/medical products businesses clustered around it was the vision - a 'health campus'. This idea of a health campus was the primary reason Watford General became the acute hospital in our area and Hemel lost out. The plan now is for a housing estate , a private health club, shops and a few offices. Quite different - but the name has been kept as a device to promote the idea that the road and land grab of the allotments is all about building a new hospital. With house prices going up significantly in last 18 months, the scheme is probably viable without building on the allotments. But it is about cash flow to the developer. they need to build the road first and want their money back quickly, and the easiest way to do that is buid houses on the allotments - nothing to do with health or hospitals. All to do with cash, accounts and profits to shareholders.
[quote][p][bold]Hampermill-Mike[/bold] wrote: Thanks TRT for your comment but hat's not the point I made. The project is called "The Health Campus" and is a play on words. It doesn't mean its a hospital or one will be built. What is in the background is the fact that Watford General Doctors and Management have not yet told anyone what they want. If you agree, then that's what we should all be focusing our words and efforts on, finding out when they will decide to ask for something. I could come up with the idea for a "Shopping Campus" in a field. I doesn't mean it will have shops, it might just be an area for a giant car boot ground. Now there's an idea !![/p][/quote]The term Health Campus was coined with the Single Regeneration budget scheme for West Watford. Watford council bought the old power station site for £2 million to stop it being sold to a waste management firm. The purchase (opposed at the time by the mayor and her husband as irresponsible) allowed the council with its other land at Cardiff road industrial estate to build a vision for a new hospital, with high tech medical related companies opening businesses on the rest of the developed site (not including allotments). So a hospital and drug/medical products businesses clustered around it was the vision - a 'health campus'. This idea of a health campus was the primary reason Watford General became the acute hospital in our area and Hemel lost out. The plan now is for a housing estate , a private health club, shops and a few offices. Quite different - but the name has been kept as a device to promote the idea that the road and land grab of the allotments is all about building a new hospital. With house prices going up significantly in last 18 months, the scheme is probably viable without building on the allotments. But it is about cash flow to the developer. they need to build the road first and want their money back quickly, and the easiest way to do that is buid houses on the allotments - nothing to do with health or hospitals. All to do with cash, accounts and profits to shareholders. Andrew1963
  • Score: 4

4:25pm Fri 23 May 14

BCB69 says...

Dear old Dotty is back as Mayor, so what's the betting she will not stand as M.P. but then you can never believe what she says, Dotty will do her own thing for 4 years again, so all who voted for her please remember this when she upsets you or tells more lies.
Dear old Dotty is back as Mayor, so what's the betting she will not stand as M.P. but then you can never believe what she says, Dotty will do her own thing for 4 years again, so all who voted for her please remember this when she upsets you or tells more lies. BCB69
  • Score: 6

6:03pm Fri 23 May 14

Hampermill-Mike says...

TRT wrote:
Or a Scouts and Guides Association venture... a camp campus.
Scouts And Guides Association, you mean SAGA !!
- - - -
[quote][p][bold]TRT[/bold] wrote: Or a Scouts and Guides Association venture... a camp campus.[/p][/quote]Scouts And Guides Association, you mean SAGA !! - - - - Hampermill-Mike
  • Score: 3

12:35pm Tue 27 May 14

garston tony says...

So Dotty lied to us all about the health campus/new hospital, has admitted that she'll probably quit in a year to stand as MP and yet people still voted for her!

Sometimes a shake of the head in wonder just isnt sufficient, just who are those 14 thousand people?

I do note however that as the total electorate is apparently 50 thousand in the town it does mean that 35 thousand people didnt vote for her. Not that she'll take any notice of that
So Dotty lied to us all about the health campus/new hospital, has admitted that she'll probably quit in a year to stand as MP and yet people still voted for her! Sometimes a shake of the head in wonder just isnt sufficient, just who are those 14 thousand people? I do note however that as the total electorate is apparently 50 thousand in the town it does mean that 35 thousand people didnt vote for her. Not that she'll take any notice of that garston tony
  • Score: 2

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