Watford General’s trust has approved a five-year strategy to revolutionise the region’s services and facilities.

West Herts Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (WHTH) reiterated ambitions to build a new hospital in Vicarage Road, an elective care hub at St Albans, and make Hemel Hempstead a focal point for complex care treatment.

Its strategy also involves a similar transformation of how services are delivered – collaborating with partners to provide them “beyond the hospitals' walls” in a bid to ease on-site pressure.

The action plan was approved by the trust’s board at a public meeting on Thursday, April 4.

Investment in technology and modernising patient services is another key priority, the trust said, as it eyes utilising data to manage services better and give patients “greater control of their health records and appointments”.

The award-winning virtual hospital – which allows patients to be cared for and monitored at home – will be expanded, while work will continue to help “develop a pipeline of future doctors, nurses and clinicians from the local area”.

Matthew Coats, WHTH’s chief executive, said: “At the heart of our strategy are our patients.

“Everything we plan to do, every ambition and every improvement is designed to make their experience better, their treatment faster and the care they receive to be excellent.”

He said the new hospital plans will be “transformational”, but added: “This isn’t just about buildings, it’s just as importantly about how we deliver services and work together in partnership to provide the best possible care.”

WHTH chair Phil Townsend hailed “many outstanding successes”, including the virtual hospital, rapid progress on robotic surgery, and new electronic patient record. He also pointed to achieving teaching hospital status and “improving the flow of patients through the hospital”.

“I’m hugely proud of the care, dedication and passion our colleagues deliver every single day for patients and this plan will ensure we continue to progress and improve in every single area,” he added.