In favour of super hospital

Government overnight winning by divide and rule over hospitals. Isn t it sad that local politicians are being forced to back one or other of the county s hospitals as Labour seeks to back out of its 2003 promise to build a new hospital in Hatfield? The fr

Government overnight winning by divide and rule over hospitals. Isn't it sad that local politicians are being forced to back one or other of the county's hospitals as Labour seeks to back out of its 2003 promise to build a new hospital in Hatfield?

The front page of last week's Comet featured local Tory MPs backed by their leader Mr Cameron, all adamant that the Lister must be preserved. Meanwhile your sister paper in Welwyn Garden City will be carrying articles from Grant Shapps MP, again backed by Mr Cameron - and, I am reliably informed, "really meaning it" there - asking for the QEII to be saved.

What we should all be campaigning for, without question, are two key things. First, the promised super hospital in Hatfield, which the entire county signed up to in 2003, should be built, and built as soon as possible. It is clearly the option favoured not just by the public, but by the clinicians, staff and even the East & North Herts management - who have been put in an impossible position by the Government.

Second we should be campaigning for proper local hospitals along the lines laid out in Lord Darzi's framework for London, which states that local hospitals should provide the majority of inpatient care rather than the vision that our PCT has of a local hospital - little more than a glorified health centre.


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We should also be questioning over the current moves nationally to centralise not just specialised services - for which there is clearly a clinical case to be made - but maternity services. For residents of St Albans to Hertford to have to come to Stevenage to give birth, or for residents of North Herts to have to get to the QEII, is clearly madness, with horrendous implications for patient safety. It is all very well telling mothers that home birth is the way to go, but if the back up if things go wrong is 30 minutes away - on a good day - it is no backup at all.

Welwyn Hatfield Liberal Democrats have successfully made this an all-party campaign, and have managed to convert many who were saying save the QEII into campaigners for Hatfield. 30,000 signatures were handed in to the PCT in support of this campaign, and the council there has produced a serious, cross-party response to the consultation, clearly identifying Hatfield as the option that should have been chosen.

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Please can we all stop fighting over the scraps - what we want is a properly funded local NHS in Hertfordshire - that starts with reversing the decision to scrap Hatfield.

NIGEL QUINTON, Lib Dem PPC Hitchin and Harpenden constituency, Lib Dem Councillor in Welwyn Garden City

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