Healthcare in West Herts has reached a crossroads.
Our local healthcare management want to refurbish and rebuild the dilapidated and dysfunctional buildings of Watford General Hospital. They have dismissed at every stage the opportunity for a new hospital for West Herts. We are seeking funds to a produce a business case with costed plans for a new hospital on a new site to deliver 21st century healthcare. Our aim is to prove to the Department of Health that this is the best and most cost-effective solution to the chronically poor hospital facilities and services in our area.
We have appointed one of the top firms of hospital architects in the country to produce these costed plans. We are seeking the funds to pay these professionals. Once we have the design, the costings and the business case, we will take these to the Department of Health to demonstrate what can be done, what should be done and what West Herts needs in terms of an acute hospital.
Why must we do this?
The statistics show that the facilities for healthcare in West Herts are well below the national averages. No-one disputes this. The question is how to improve it. £350 million is now available for a major restructuring. The local healthcare authorities want to use this sum to rebuild and refurbish Watford General Hospital. The buildings there are in a very poor state. Their plan is to demolish and re-build only one of the buildings. Others will be re-furbished, while the all the defects in the remaining buildings, infrastructure and services are being repaired. Their plan is fundamentally flawed and will never be able to provide true 21st century healthcare. It will represent poor value for the taxpayer and a second-rate facility for the people of West Herts.
What we really need is a completely new 21st century hospital on a new central site. Our group includes hospital and construction experts who will work closely with the multi-disciplined design team to put together the business case for this hospital. This possibility is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The decision that will be made in the next few months will affect healthcare in West Herts for the next fifty years.
We are asking you to invest in the future healthcare for yourselves, your children and your grandchildren. Our slogan is ‘Your Hospital – Your Future’ and with your help we can make it a bright future for healthcare in West Herts.
In the last twenty years our population in West Herts has grown by 25% but our hospital bed numbers have shrunk by 60%.
We now have only a third of the number of hospital beds per thousand population compared with the UK average. We have 0.9 beds per thousand whereas the UK has an average of 2.7.
Watford General Hospital is so overcrowded that it regularly has twice the UK average for breaches of the mixed-sex accommodation rules.
Our ambulance trust has the worst waiting times at A and E in England.
Watford General Hospital recently had to pay the highest claim on record against our NHS. The £37 million pay-out was the "highest award ever" for "clinical negligence".
Prompt and accurate diagnosis is acknowledged as the way forward, yet we have grossly inadequate major diagnostic equipment, for example we have less than half the number of MRI scanners per population then the UK average.
Watford General Hospital Today - A DISGRACE
WE DESERVE BETTER - What we could have with your help
How are we going to achieve our aim?
To win our case, we believe we have to go above the West Herts healthcare management, and present the Department of Health with plans and a business case. We will demonstrate that a new, acute 21st Century General hospital will be cost effective and will come on stream at least five years before the patch up job at Watford is completed. It will be built to current hospital design standards, future proofed, and will provide a much better experience for patients, staff and visitors.
We have commissioned a leading multi-discipline architectural practice, highly experienced in designing hospitals that meet 21st Century healthcare standards.
We are now fundraising to pay for this professional expertise and support
Our group includes a hospital planner who has first hand knowledge of the design and planning of a 21st Century hospital, and a project manager with more than thirty years’ experience of delivering complex multi-million pound projects.
We are all working voluntarily. We are a not-for-profit company, open to scrutiny, and we have a qualified accountant managing our finances.
We are non-political.
We became frustrated with all attempts to change the flawed and unworkable plans being put forward by our local healthcare management, and their refusal to listen to the obvious case for a new hospital.
Something radical had to be done, and that’s when we decided there was no longer any point trying to change their entrenched views. We realised the only way we can get the result we want, the right result for the whole 650,000 population of West Herts, is to go above them and convince the Department of Health that it makes far more sense to fund a new hospital.
A new hospital will be accessible to all, financially sound and not running at the frightening deficit of over £50 million a year, which happens at present.
Watford General Hospital Today, VERY DIFFICULT ACCESS
How is the money being spent?
The money will pay the architects and other professionals needed to help us prepare our business case. It will pay for plans of the new 21st Century Hospital we deserve in this area.
Should there be any money left over, we guarantee that it will be spent for the benefit of patients, perhaps by funding a piece of equipment, or a donation to the League of Friends.
A Hospital for the Future - What we could have with your help
What People Are Saying
Aren’t we too late? I thought the money for hospital provision in this area was already committed to Watford. Is there still time to change this decision?
The money is not yet committed to Watford, and we have the chance to put our case. This may be our last chance, because if the decision is taken to go ahead with the Watford scheme, it will be harder (if not impossible) to rescind it. This is why we need to fight hard RIGHT NOW for the future of the hospital service in this area, a decision that will affect us (and our children and grandchildren) for the next fifty years or so.
How can you commit to Watford, the state it is in?
If the new hospital gets the go ahead, where will we go for treatment while it is being built?
Watford will remain on stream as the accident and emergency centre for the area during the build years. There will be no major additional upheaval there, as there would be during the proposed 12 years of work that will follow if the decision is taken to spend all the money there.
Where will the new hospital be built?
Until the decision to build a new hospital gets the go-ahead it is impossible to finalise the exact site. There are several suitable sites more centrally located in West Herts than the poorly located Watford site. The cost of land has been factored in to the build costs for the new 21 Century hospital.
A Hospital for Tomorrow
From the Chaos of Today. Parked cars blocking the ambulance entrance to A&E
How will patients get to the new hospital?
Unlike Watford General, the new hospital will have a large, free car park, meaning that patients, staff and visitors will never have to search for parking places. Good public transport will service the new hospital from all the major towns in West Herts.
Getting to Watford hospital today is DIFFICULT
What will happen to our existing hospitals at Hemel Hempstead and St Albans?
They will be brought back into more use. Patients who are in need of critical care will be looked after at the new hospital, but as soon as they only need intermediate care they will be transferred to their local hospital, Hemel Hempstead, St Albans or Watford. This will make visits from friends and relatives easier. Each of these town centre facilities will have an Urgent Treatment Centre OPEN 24 HOURS A DAY. Many out-patient clinics will also be held at these closer-to-home supporting hospitals.
Watford has a problem with bed blocking. Will this be put right?
Yes. At any one time up to 200 beds at Watford are occupied by patients who do not need critical care but are not fit enough to be discharged home. The previous answer explains how our local town centre hospitals will be called into service, releasing acute beds at the central acute hospital.
The government wants all hospitals to abolish mixed sex wards and move to single bed rooms and small four-bed rooms. Will this happen?
It will happen at the new hospital, where at least half of all beds will be in single rooms and the rest in four bed rooms.
IT WILL NOT HAPPEN IF THE MONEY IS SPENT ON WATFORD, BECAUSE WATFORD IS AN OLD BUILDING AND IS ALLOWED TO EXEMPT ITSELF FROM MEETING THESE IMPORTANT MODERN NHS STANDARDS.
The pressure on beds at Watford means that patients are sometimes on mixed sex wards, and often in a ward that is not appropriate to their treatment (eg a medical patient on a surgical ward, because no other bed could be found).
You say the new hospital will have all the latest diagnostic equipment. Won’t this cost more and be more expensive to run?
No. Early, accurate diagnosis results in prompt treatment. This saves lives and saves money too.
The earlier and more accurate a diagnosis, the less of the patient’s time is spent in hospital and in the NHS treatment system. Too many patients are currently only discovered to have a serious medical condition once they have collapsed and been taken to A & E at Watford. This is very costly and is preventable.
Economies of scale also mean that with six MRI scanners working 7 days a week, the cost per MRI will be a quarter of what it presently is in West Herts. Factored into the running costs of the new hospital is the upgrading of equipment when new developments come on stream.
Will waiting times for appointments be improved?
Yes, greatly improved. New technology will cut out weeks of waiting times and will also be able to ensure patients get treated for multiple health problems ON THE SAME VISIT TO THE HOSPITAL.
YOUR HOSPITAL - YOUR FUTURE