Agenda item

The Vision for Hemel Hempstead Hospital

To discuss the updated Vision for Hemel Hempstead Hospital as compiled by Eddie Glatter.


Before proceeding with the presentation, Cllr Bhinder noted Cllr Beauchamp's statement. Cllr Guest asked that the statement be considered after the presentation.


EGlatter presented the DHAG vision for the future of Hemel Hempstead Hospital ("HHH"), noting that they are proposing that the local hospital be the centre of a truly integrated health service for the Dacorum community. Integration is necessary to ensure Hemel Hempstead is a truly integrated service with West Herts Teaching Hospitals Trust, social services, Herts Community Trust, Herts Partnership Trust, social care and the voluntary sector all on one site. The Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust model is an example model, which still has wards in its community hospitals after the A&E hospital was built, providing some elective surgery, oncology, stroke rehabilitation and care of the elderly, with each hospital having a wide range of other services, and was rated 'outstanding' by the CQC. The Trust has also started to roll out a new home care service with no waiting list.


Looking at services that could be provided at HHH, EGlatter suggested that rehabilitation wards are vital to take patients from A&E and specialist hospitals to prevent bed-blocking and enable patients to gain independence through specialised care. The Day Centre should also be reopened and run by well-trained senior and district nurses, and district nurses should also be based at HHH to provide a vital role in the community. The Urgent Treatment Centre should be maintained and expanded as it is a well-run service that consistently meets its targets. Preventative services, a full range of diagnostic tests and phlebotomy and x-ray services should also be at HHH. On the wider issues, educational, training and library facilities at HHH are a valuable resource and should be kept as a venue for health and social care providers, and could also accommodate the Dacorum Healthy Hub. Dacorum could be a centre for innovation and should look at the feasibility of setting up community health and social care services through a neighbourhood model, as piloted by other trusts across the country. The outsourcing of services should also be ceased to prevent concerns around quality, accessibility, communication and follow-up appointments. Services from the Health and Wellbeing Centre should be brought to HHH when the lease ends in 2026 to help centralise services and improve access.


HHH is at serious risk as the Trust's CEO described at the Trust board meeting on 6th October funding for diagnostic equipment at St. Albans and that there was no promise of new equipment for HHH, despite a previous promise for MRI and CT machines. HHH's MRI has been replaced by a mobile scanner, which doesn't provide as good resolution, and the Trust will be neglecting some moderate and low-level backlog maintenance despite having the option to complete it all, resulting in the eventual closure of the hospital due to neglect. The Trust has predicted an increase in attendance at Watford Hospital by 30%, compared to just 6% at HHH, suggesting that more patients will be going to Watford.


EGlatter concluded that DHAG need to point the way to a more sensible and sustainable health provision in Dacorum.


Cllr Allen thanked EGlatter for the presentation and asked what the next steps will be in campaigning for quality health services in Dacorum.


Cllr Bhinder suggested that the Committee look further at the presentation with a view to developing a document from DBC and that the work falls under the remit of the Committee.


Cllr Beauchamp echoed the comments and agreed with the direction proposed by the Chair. Cllr Beauchamp commented that a new single centralised hospital has long been sought for residents though this faced continual resistance due to individual aspirations of hospitals based in Watford and St. Albans. Cllr Beauchamp stated that the Committee should focus on the core services required to support the local needs of the population within the context of any available funding should the government not be willing to provide 100% availability for the West Hertfordshire Hospital Trusts project and should be in line with availability of resources, technology and deliverability. It should be complementary to a new hospital that will provide key emergency and elective surgery needs of the population. Current funding requirements of around £1.2bn will potentially not be available to meet the aspirations of the Trust and if the clear need of the core diagnostic services can't be demonstrated then further services will be withdrawn and funding will be prioritised for Watford. Cllr Beauchamp continued that the Committee should ensure that any funding for HHH improvements must be adequate to provide what has been outlined and other services to be determined by the Committee, which should include MRI, CT, ultrasound, x-ray, DEXA scanning, UTH, ENT and audiology as a minimum. Routine outpatient services should also be provided, including oncology, orthopedic, maternity and stroke treatments, as well as inpatient care for rehabilitation.


Cllr Bhinder remarked on the NHS using local community centres for clinics rather than the hospital.


Cllr Bhinder confirmed that Cllr Beauchamp's statement would be included in the minutes.


Cllr Guest commented that the Council's policy is to support a new hospital on a new site to service Hemel Hempstead and Watford and that this should continue, though this is not currently happening, and whilst there is continued support, the best healthcare for residents needs to be fought for. Cllr Guest clarified that they need to support the best deal for what is available now.


Cllr Bhinder recommended that the item be discussed further at coming meetings.


ACTION: Cllr Beauchamp's written statement to be included in the minutes.