Hemel Hempstead MP, Sir Mike Penning, has tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament calling for a new acute hospital on a new site for West Hertfordshire.
The Motion reads:
That this House notes that the acute hospital in Watford was the first hospital to be built under the reign of Queen Victoria; further notes that the hospital has since been developed in an ad hoc manner and that the deterioration of its facilities has made it harder for the excellent doctors, nurses and auxiliary staff to carry out their work; notes that there is a lack of affordable parking facilities for staff, patients and visitors as a result of its location next to a Premier League football club; recognises the further pressure put on the hospital's facilities following the closure of acute services at St Albans and Hemel Hempstead which were opposed by the majority of local residents; and calls on the Government to halt the taxpayer-funded redevelopment of the Watford site and welcome the news that £590m is available for a new acute hospital on a greenfield site that can serve all of the growing population of West Hertfordshire.
As an Early Day Motion, technically it would be debated at the ‘earliest opportunity’, in reality however that never happens. It is, though, another string in the bow of MPs who want to draw attention to a specific issue and raise its profile with the Government.
Sir Mike said:
“I will continue to use every opportunity to put pressure on the West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust to see common sense. It is obvious to everyone else that trying to upgrade or even rebuild the hospital on the existing site will be nigh on impossible whilst keeping it fully operational.
“By opting for a new site, the Trust could equally serve the people of Hemel Hempstead, Watford and St Albans with easy access, plenty of space for expansion and offer free (and level) car parking for staff, patients and visitors alike.
“It is great news that the Trust can now bid for £590 million. It is time to do the right thing and get on with it.
“I understand Watford residents may be worried they will lose their hospital, but there is no reason why they cannot keep some non-acute services on the Vicarage Road site.
“I urge all neighbouring MPs to back my Early Day Motion.”