I note that once again Watford’s Tory MP is boasting that the £400 million capital funding for West Herts Hospitals Trust, ‘…will be a grant not a loan’ (Watford Observer, February 7) and is endeavouring to accrue some political credit for this.

Of course as with so many Tory sleights of hand on spending it belies the true picture.

After a decade of inaction by the Government following the coalition’s scrapping of Labour’s rebuilding plans in 2010, the Tories announced a £350 million allocation in response to the trust’s bid for between £500 and £600 million for rebuilding and modernisation.

So what has happened since?

Just before the General Election, Boris Johnson announced money for seven new hospitals, one of which was Watford. He said the money was available for spending immediately, which was untrue.

In fact the £400 million was no more than the original allocation rounded up for future years – the figure is linked to the trust’s annual turnover, which will of course increase (although by an insufficient amount).

The trust will still have to go through several years of submitting business cases, working with partners, etc, before it can access the money.

But the statement that this money is a ‘grant not a loan’ is deliberately misleading.

The trust will be required to service this ‘grant’ with £18 million per year at current prices; money that might otherwise be available for patient care in this cash-strapped trust. If it was a ‘no-strings attached grant’ as our MP implies then the public might assume that the cost to the trust would be nothing - which is untrue.

Our hospital has struggled with underfunding and old buildings for many years, providing great care for local people despite government neglect.

The Tory MP who arrived from Luton one month before the election might wish to show a bit more humility given his party’s record in failing to support our hospital over so many years.

Mike Jackson

Kingsfield Road, Watford