Watford's MP and mayor have backed a bid to bring the town's hospital "into the 21st Century".

West Herts Hospital Trust and the Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group yesterday backed a proposal that would concentrate most of a £350 million investment bid on Watford General Hospital.

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Health bosses likely to back Watford General Hospital revamp ahead of new hospital

The boards of both NHS groups will meet formally on July 11 to bid for the money from the Government.

Under the plans - one of four options - Watford would remain the A&E centre for West Herts, dismaying campaigners calling for a new hospital on a fresh site between Watford, Hemel Hempstead and St Albans.

In the preferred option, St Albans City Hospital would be refurbished to become an enhanced surgical facility – for planned surgery and cancer care – with an additional two operating theatres and MRI and CT scanners.

Watford Observer:

How a revamped Watford General Hospital might look

And Hemel Hempstead Hospital offer medical services for conditions such as rheumatology, diabetes and respiratory conditions, while its Urgent Care Centre would move to a different building and land would be sold off for up to 250 homes.

Hemel Hempstead MP Sir Mike Penning said it was the worst for his constituents, and that "renovating a Victorian hospital on an unsuitable site at an inaccessible location was madness".


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But Watford's Elected Mayor Peter Taylor welcomed the plans, which will include a new ward block at Watford and new women’s and children’s suites among other improvements.

Watford Borough Council gave the green light for a brand new multi storey car park at the hospital this March.

Watford Observer:

Elected Mayor Peter Taylor visiting Watford General Hospital

Mr Taylor said: "This is really exciting news for our town and everyone in south west Hertfordshire.

"For years, hardworking NHS staff and patients have been using hospital facilities that simply aren’t fit for the 21st Century. "Watford Council has made tough decisions to make sure that we can get improvements at Watford General. That has included building a brand new access road in Thomas Sawyer Way and providing the trust with land for new hospital facilities, starting with a new multi storey car park.

"Although the idea of a new hospital on a new site may sound attractive, it is simply not going to happen and will only result in health facilities leaving Watford. The time for talking is now over. We need to all come together to convince the Government to make these new hospital facilities for our area a reality."

Watford MP Richard Harrington said: “Watford General should absolutely remain the site for emergency care. A significant amount of public money has already been spent on redeveloping the A&E and other wards.

"Whilst we all know that major works are needed, it makes sense to improve the existing facilities and structures, and bring our much loved hospital into the 21st Century.”