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Update on Strategic Outline Case for developing hospital estate

Update from Christine Allen, Chief Executive, West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust and Kathryn Magson, Chief Executive, Herts Valleys CCG on follow-up from regulators following the submission of the Strategic Outline Case for hospital redeveloment.

We submitted the Strategic Outline Case (SOC) for the redevelopment of hospital estate in west Hertfordshire at the end of July, following approval by the boards of West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust and Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group early in July. The preferred option in that submission was to maximise investment on the emergency and specialist site at Watford, and also to provide significant investment to upgrade both St Albans and Hemel Hempstead hospitals. The submission was drawn up, amongst other factors, on the basis of clear financial guidance given to us by our regulators earlier this year.

Following that submission, NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE and NHSI) asked the Trust to consider the suitability of another option – to inform their national and regional discussions on capital funding availability. There was a particular interest in a possible hybrid of option one (as submitted), maximising investment in the Watford site, and what we called option four, which involved the building of a new planned care centre. NHSE and NHSI remain clear that affordability is still key.

The Trust and CCG discussed this and the Trust has been working on producing an outline - in the full knowledge that any provisional suggestions that might be taken forward, would be subject to an entirely new process of engagement and decision-making.

If we are advised that more capital is available, the CCG and Trust will respond appropriately to any further information or guidance and in doing so we would launch a further process to consider options. If that doesn’t transpire, then the current SOC will continue to stand and we will continue to press for investment in the plans we have outlined in that document.

We will keep you informed as and when we make further progress.

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