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Trust and CCG boards agree emerging preferred way forward on hospital redevelopment

Progress was made today (Thursday, 6 June) towards securing major investment into local hospital facilities. The boards of West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust (WHHT) and Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (HVCCG) met together to discuss four shortlisted options for hospital redevelopment, in preparation for decision-making on a submission to central government for around £350m of investment.

The outcome of the discussion was indicative support for option one as the emerging preferred way forward.  This is the way forward that would provide the greatest amount of investment in the Watford General Hospital site. It would include new clinical buildings housing theatres and critical care as well as women and children’s services and a refurbishment of the Princess Michael of Kent building, allowing significant improvement to inpatient ward accommodation. There would also be investment on the Hemel Hempstead and St Albans City Hospital sites. Hemel Hempstead would become a planned medical centre with services, including a newly provided urgent treatment centre, consolidated into a redeveloped complex. St Albans City Hospital would be enhanced as a planned surgical facility including a new cancer and surgical centre with diagnostic suite as well as refurbishments to theatres and inpatient beds and the development of a small high dependency unit. 

Both organisations will now present an update at a public meeting on Thursday 13 June at Metropolitan Police Bushey Sports Club (from 7-9pm), which will capture feedback around the emerging preferred way forward. This follows a series of public meetings and contributions from local people and stakeholders over recent months.  To register for next Thursday’s meeting go to Eventbrite

WHHT board will make their decision on the option to be submitted for investment at a specially convened meeting in public on July 11. Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group will then consider and come to its conclusion on the trust’s proposed way forward at its own meeting in public, later the same day.

Papers for these meetings will be published online towards the end of this month and local people will be invited to make further representations at both of these board meetings.

The final submission for funding will be made in the summer, in time for consideration as part of the government’s comprehensive spending review.                                                                        

Both boards are aware that there is a wish in some communities for a new emergency and planned care hospital on a new site. This option was not on the shortlist. Costings carried out (in line with Treasury guidelines), showed that it would cost around double the amount set by regulators as our funding threshold.

As part of the discussion today, board members heard from people across the area who were invited to submit written representations or speak in person.

Phil Townsend, chair of West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “These are exciting times – we are closer to securing a major investment than we have been for a long time. Whilst we would always be happy with more money, we recognise that anything in the region of £350m will make a huge difference to the experience of our patients and staff across west Hertfordshire.”

Dr Trevor Fernandes, local GP and board member of Herts Valleys CCG, said “We have been trying to secure hospital funding for a long time now and we must move forward in a way that gives us the greatest chance of gaining that investment.  As commissioners we want to see money spent in a way that will deliver the biggest benefit for the whole area and we look forward to seeing the trust’s proposals for final consideration in July.”


Background documents

Papers for today’s board meeting are available here.

The indicative plans presented at today’s meeting, with visuals of what the developments might look like under each option, are available here.

Read more about hospital development plans here.


Additional information:

The strategic outline case for hospital redevelopment in west Hertfordshire is being reviewed in light of feedback from regulators (NHS Improvement and NHS England).  Regulators have set a threshold that any plans put forward must be in line with the hospital trust’s annual turnover of approximately £350million.

Options under consideration have been shaped by regulators’ requirements. They are summarised in the table below:


Planned care

Emergency and critical care

Option 1

Medical (long term condition) care and ‘UTC Plus’ at Hemel Hempstead Hospital. Surgery, complex diagnostics and ‘UTC Minus’ at St Albans City Hospital

Maximum investment at Watford General including new theatres & critical care block; new women & children's block; significant improvement to bed reconfiguration

Option 2

Most planned care at St Albans City Hospital. As above but with UTC Plus at St Albans rather than HHH. Hemel Hempstead Hospital providing urgent on the day care & some outpatient care

Large investment at Watford General to include new theatres & critical care block; new women & children's block (excl. theatres) and some improvement to bed reconfiguration

Option 3

Full refurb / new build of Hemel Hempstead Hospital to be main planned care site with UTC Plus. St Albans City Hospital providing urgent on the day care & some outpatient care

Investment at Watford General to include six theatres in Princess Michael of Kent (PMOK) building; new women & children's block (incl. theatres) and some improvement to bed reconfiguration

Option 4

New build planned care hospital (including UTC plus) on a new site. GP extended access, urgent on the day care & some outpatient care to be available in Hemel Hempstead and St Albans.

Lower investment at Watford General Hospital to include six theatres in Princess Michael of Kent (PMOK) building; new women & children's block (incl. theatres) and limited improvement to bed reconfiguration



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