The Government is looking at the case to rebuild Watford General Hospital amid fears “disarray” is stalling the project.

A Department for Health and Social Care spokesperson has said it is inaccurate to suggest there is any delay to the Conservative Party’s manifesto commitment to build 40 new hospitals by 2030 – which includes redevelopment in Watford.

The comment follows a statement by Watford mayor Peter Taylor who says investment is “long overdue”. He recently wrote to then Prime Minister Liz Truss seeking reassurance about funding for the rebuild.

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Watford Observer: Watford General HospitalWatford General Hospital (Image: Stock image)

At a full Watford Borough Council meeting on October 17, the Lib Dem mayor was asked by Labour Holywell member and parliamentary candidate Matt Turmaine whether he hoped to receive a response.

Mr Taylor replied: “I met with the hospital trust earlier in October and one of the things they were pleased about was the fact that I had written to Liz Truss so early on after she became Conservative leader.

“Across the party, we are united in wanting that long-overdue investment into Watford General. The fact that we’ve got disarray in central government doesn’t help.

“We will continue to make the case because it’s in the best interest not just of Watford residents but those across the region, including patients and staff.”

Ms Truss has since resigned as Prime Minister, replaced by Rishi Sunak.

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Watford Observer: Liz Truss outside Downing Street after resigning as Prime MinisterLiz Truss outside Downing Street after resigning as Prime Minister (Image: PA)

A Government spokesperson said: “We are fully committed to delivering 40 new hospitals by 2030 and it is inaccurate to suggest there is any delay to the New Hospitals Programme.

“We are taking a whole-programme approach to building the new hospitals to deliver efficiencies and maximise quality, reduce the overall time taken to build the hospitals and provide better value for money for the taxpayer.

“So far, £3.7billion has been earmarked nationally for the first four years of the programme and we are working through business cases with individual trusts - including West Hertfordshire - before final funding is released.”

Watford Observer: Watford General HospitalWatford General Hospital (Image: Newsquest)

West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospital NHS Trust agreed in May its preferred option is to build a new, large block which will accommodate all clinical facilities on land next to the existing hospital in Vicarage Road.

Investment is also planned at Hemel Hempstead and St Albans hospitals with reports earlier this year this could all cost more than £1 billion.

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The trust's plans are backed by Watford Borough Council, Three Rivers District Council, and Watford and St Albans MPs Dean Russell and Daisy Cooper respectively.

Hemel Hempstead MP, who has backed calls from campaigners for a new hospital to be built away from Watford, says the trust's vision is "ludicrous".

Sir Mike said: “What has delayed this project is that it’s a crazy development that’s going to be built as one block in a town centre. We need a new hospital but it has to be in an appropriate place. It has to be a 21st-century solution to hospital-building.”

Watford Observer: A new multi-storey car park that opened at Watford General earlier this yearA new multi-storey car park that opened at Watford General earlier this year (Image: West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust)

A trust spokesperson said: “Our leading clinicians have been working with an architect-led design team for some time now and our plans are well advanced.

“Patient safety is at the heart of our designs which make common sense use of the available land and promise huge improvements in terms of the experience for staff and patients."

“We are still waiting to hear about money for vital enabling works and for the rebuild at Watford. We have not appointed a contractor. We will do this when we have more clarity on our funding."

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