Hospital decision is put off again

PUBLISHED: 11:09 15 March 2007 | UPDATED: 11:40 06 May 2010

FOR a second time hospital bosses have delayed announcing the fate of Lister s A&E department. The recommendation from a specially convened panel was initially expected on February 27, was delayed until March 13 and is now not scheduled to be made until t

FOR a second time hospital bosses have delayed announcing the fate of Lister's A&E department.

The recommendation from a specially convened panel was initially expected on February 27, was delayed until March 13 and is now not scheduled to be made until the end of this month.

Anne Walker, chief executive of the Hertfordshire primary care trusts, said: "This is a complex consultation involving not just the location of the major acute hospital in east and north Hertfordshire, but also what services should be developed on the non-acute hospital sites across Hertfordshire.

"If all goes to plan, all this information will be ready to take out to public consultation within just a few weeks."

Nick Carver, chief executive of the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, said: "We must make sure that our proposals are thought through fully - clinically, operationally and financially - before taking them out to public consultation.

"It's vital, therefore, that we get everything right first because no change is not an option if we are to prevent Hertfordshire's healthcare from becoming second rate."

A panel made up of chairs, chief executives and medical directors from the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, East and North Hertfordshire Primary Care Trust, West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust and West Hertfordshire Primary Care Trust, is hoping to make their long-awaited recommendation at the end of the month.

But a spokesman for the Hertfordshire PCTs told The Comet: "Its going to be at the end of March at the earliest."

Their recommendation will then form the basis of a public consultation which will last for 13 weeks.

* You can still sign the petition to save Lister's A&E by:

- Going online to The Comet's Lister link at: www.thecomet.net

- Popping into The Comet's office at Bank House, Primett Road, Stevenage, SG1 3EE and signing a form in our reception area.

- If any business or individual would like to help collect signatures, please contact The Comet on: 01438 866200 for a supply of petition forms.

* Nadine Dorries, MP for Mid Bedfordshire, wrote to the secretary of state for health, Patricia Hewitt, to seek reassurances about the future of the A&E department at Lister.

The health minister, Andy Burnham MP, responded to the letter but failed to give the reassurances Mrs Dorries was looking for.

Instead the minister wrote: "I would urge you and your constituents to engage as fully as possible in the consultation to ensure your views are taken into consideration.


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