The proponents of a new hospital have made their official position on alternatives clear after the local hospital trust shooting down their idea last week.

The New Hospital Campaign has said that a new centrally-located hospital built on a clear site must be placed on the short list of options by local health bodies in the coming months.

The West Herts Hospital Trust (WHHT) and the Herts Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (HVCCG) ruled out the new hospital for being far too costly with some estimates placing the cost of a new hospital at £800 million.

The advocacy group said: “This is essential because it would be significantly more affordable and far less risky and disruptive than the options, they are currently favouring, all of which are based on redeveloping Watford General Hospital in Vicarage Road.

“The new hospital would be delivered much more quickly and to a higher and far more acceptable standard, with more flexibility to adapt to our rapidly growing and ageing population.”

Rather than build a new hospital, the trust has instead opted for one of either four affordable options; all maintain Watford General Hospital as a “hot site” for specialised care while other hospitals can provide “planned” care.

The trust says the plans have been drawn up in recognition that some of the hospital buildings no longer meet NHS standards and are not fit for purpose.

The following is a joint statement prepared by WHHT and the HVCCG:

“It is great news that serious consideration is being given to a major investment for our hospital buildings. We are working hard to develop plans that transform our services, allowing for as much new build as possible, whilst also using existing buildings where economically sensible.

“Securing future investment for hospital redevelopment in the current climate will require a professionally constructed, credible and detailed proposal within a funding threshold set by our regulators.

“It is in our interests to be as realistic as possible because our proposal will undergo a high degree of scrutiny when it is submitted later this year.

“We welcome the interest shown by local people. At the same time, we cannot accept the figures campaigners are publicising because they have not used the methodology required for a project of this nature and are therefore not comparable.”