NHS plans to buy a private hospital in Hatfield have hit "commercial barriers" that are "unlikely to be overcome," with plans to create an elective care hub at Stevenage's Lister Hospital prioritised as a result.

This is according to the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust's July board papers, which outline "the emergence of a potential option to purchase the One Hatfield private hospital" earlier this year.

"During the course of May and June," however, "it has become increasingly clear that the commercial barriers in respect of One Hatfield are unlikely to be overcome and that a transaction to purchase the facility by the NHS would be extremely problematic," the board papers say.

%image(14504271, type="article-full", alt="The purchase of One Hospital in Hatfield by the NHS would be "extremely problematic," it has been revealed")

It means plans to develop a hub for additional capacity "to support the reduction of elective waiting lists and the improvement of waiting times" will now be based around an expansion of the Lister Treatment Centre in Stevenage, the document says, adding that this was the initial preferred option, but that this position was "subsequently complicated" by the potential option to buy One Hatfield.

NHS Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care System has now asked that "work to finalise configuration options at the Lister Treatment Centre are prioritised and finalised", the board papers say, with "a focus on facilities that could operate in isolation from emergency pressures, deliver high volumes of low acuity activity and be accessible to providers and requirements across an entire system".

%image(14504272, type="article-full", alt="Plans for an Elective Surge Hub at Lister Treatment Centre in Stevenage are being developed")

The East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust said "development of a short form business case that can support this option will be progressed," and said a "collaborative approach to the operating model must be developed," in recognition of "the importance of developing and operating the new facility as a system resource and ensuring open access to surgeons from other providers".

A spokesman for NHS Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care System's board said: “We are working closely with providers across our integrated care system to find ways of increasing capacity, and so reducing waiting times for non-urgent (elective) surgery in Hertfordshire and west Essex. We cannot comment on commercially sensitive information.”