The Prime Minister says he "fully backs" plans to invest millions of pounds into Watford General Hospital following a visit today.

Boris Johnson was in town today to meet staff and patients following news that that West Hertfordshire hospitals will receive £400m of investment.

Mr Johnson confirmed the amount West Herts Hospitals Trust will get is £400m, which is a loan, and he says this will bring "world class facilities".

Mr Johnson spent the morning touring the wards of the hospital chatting with doctors, nurses, and mental health professionals, before meeting with bosses at the hospital to discuss its future plans.

Watford Observer:

Watford Observer:

Boris Johnson speaks with staff at Watford General Hospital. Credit: PA

Watford Observer:

Speaking exclusively to the Observer after touring the hospital, the Prime Minister said: "Watford General Hospital will be a massive thing. It will mean new buildings, the refurbishment of this building we are in (the main block).

"The old Victorian building will go, the portacabins will go. There will be world class facilities and world class staff.

"You've got incredible people at this hospital, highly motivated trying to do their very best in conditions that have become outdated.

"I want to pay tribute to my colleague and friend Richard Harrington, the local MP, who has campaigned for Watford General Hospital for a long time. I spoke to him this morning and he's pleased that this is finally going ahead."

Watford Observer:

Mr Johnson looked upbeat as he left Watford General Hospital just before midday today

Watford Observer:

The Prime Minister's Met Police escort out of the hospital

We asked Mr Johnson whether he backed the trust spending the bulk of its money in Watford, despite campaigners calling for a new hospital to be built altogether.

Pointing to plans that were pinned up on a wall inside a room in the hospital, Mr Johnson said: "I'm fully backing what the trust are doing and if you look at what's happening at Hemel Hempstead and St Albans, this is a big step forward for the area."

The trust and Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group do not want to build a new hospital more accessible to Watford, Hemel Hempstead, and St Albans because it says it is too expensive.

Instead, it wants to pump most of the money into Watford, while St Albans would get a new cancer and surgical centre, and Hemel would become a planned medical centre.

But with the trust receiving £50 million pounds more that it thought it would, it is not in a position to reveal just yet how the money will be spent.

Reacting to the Prime Minister at Watford General Hospital, Watford's Labour parliamentary candidate Chris Ostrowski, said: “Boris Johnson is like a child demanding praise for clearing up the mess he created in the first place.

"Now that we appear to be heading for an early election they magically find some funds to help improve services. But the money announced by Johnson is still less than what West Herts Hospital Trust has said it needs.

"The last Labour government approved a massive investment programme, which included upgrading Watford General, only for this to be cancelled once the Lib Dem-Tory coalition took power."

Cllr Ian Stotesbury, Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Watford said "tough decisions" made by Lib Dem-run Watford Borough Council, like giving the trust land for new facilities, has made this investment "possible".

He added: "My wife Clare worked as a doctor at Watford General and so I know very well how the site needs buildings fit for the 21st century.

"I hope this is not just empty words from the Prime Minister before an election and he learns from his visit that the time to act is now to give staff and patients the new facilities that they deserve."