Watford’s politicians from the three major parties have agreed that Watford General Hospital (WGH) is the most realistic option to receive as much as £590million in refurbishments.
An independent report was published in August concluding that the most realistic option for West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust (WHHNT) was to develop an existing hospital rather than building a new one.
Six sites, including WGH, are being reviewed, with locations in Hemel Hempstead and Kings Langley being among them.
However, campaigners from some of the other areas of where the trust covers have also given their reasons as to why redeveloping WGH would not be the best way forward.
Commenting on the report, Liberal Democrat Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: “It’s no surprise that yet another independent report has said that investment in new facilities at Watford General Hospital is the best way to guarantee better health facilities for everyone in South West Hertfordshire.
“The time for talking is over. We do not need more delays and we need to get on with investing in our local health service.”
Dean Russell, Conservative MP for Watford said: “The hospital’s proximity to Watford FC – which has often been stated as a negative – has proven to be invaluable during the current crisis and shows the current location has many benefits to staff and patients alike. Many of the heroic NHS staff live close to the current site so it would be unfair in my opinion if the hospital were to relocate.
“I believe it would be such a waste of public money if the hospital were to move, and it would also cause significant delays.
“I strongly believe redeveloping Watford General is the only way to ensure world class facilities are delivered within the government’s targeted timings and budgets.”
Chair of Watford Labour Party, councillor Asif Khan, said: “Yet another independent report shows the present Watford site as the most suitable.
“It now needs the government to finally give the go ahead for the investment long promised for residents not just of Watford, but for the whole of South West Herts. It’s time to get on and build the hospital – this constant attempt to delay the redevelopment of the hospital is putting lives in danger. It has got to stop.”
Hemel Hempstead resident and campaigner, Brian Rumph, argued that it would be a waste of money to redevelop WGH.
He said: “WGH is not fit for purpose and to try and make it so is not only a waste of money but will also cause even more disruption and extend waiting lists even further.
“You cannot get to it on public transport without many changes on a bus journey, or a long walk. If you drive, you can’t find a parking space and it is expensive.”