Mayor Dorothy Thornhill says “all the evidence” points towards having improved hospital facilities in Watford as campaigners argue for a new super hospital.

The Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group is reviewing what services are needed across south west Hertfordshire.

But the debate took another twist when the Dacorum Patients’ Group unveiled plans for a new super hospital that would serve Watford, Hemel Hempstead and St Albans, based between the three towns. 

Both the Elected Mayor of Watford and MP for South West Hertfordshire David Gauke said this was an option, if vast amounts of money had not been invested in Watford's transport network.

The Liberal Democrat Mayor said: “They have been campaigning for this since Watford won the battle of where the acute hospital should be.

“If we lived in cuckoo-land, it would have been right to say we wanted a new super hospital. But it is not realistic and it is not going to happen.

“We have to live in the real world and look at what is possible. There is no sign the government would give us the money we needed to build a structure of that size.

“I believe the evidence stacks up and shows the acute hospital should be kept in Watford. With the right leadership and financing, we can improve the hospital buildings as part of the health campus.”

Patients with minor injuries or illnesses have been turned away from the A&E department and a senior hospital chief admitted it need a bigger building.

David Gaunt, divisional director for unscheduled care at Watford General Hospital, told the Watford Observer: “Nationally there has been a six to eight per cent increase in the number of people using A&E departments.

“If the department was the right size in 2010, it will not be the right size now. We need a bigger department with more space to see extra patients.”

The Dacorum Patients Group argues the main acute hospital should be built between the three towns so it could benefit other areas like Tring and Berkhamstead.

But Treasury Minister David Gauke said: “There is no harm in having this debate again.

“I do not think it is a lead option because there has been so much investment in and around Watford.

“If you were starting with a clean slate, it might be the right thing to do. But we are not.”