Hospital under threat

A hospital may close after the NHS announced plans for an overhaul of intermediate care in Hertfordshire.

Hitchin Hospital, an intermediary care facility for elderly North Herts and Stevenage patients recovering from hospital treatment or are too ill to stay at home, could close as NHS Hertfordshire look to place patients in private care homes.

The Primary Care Trust said the move would cut down on patients’ travel and provide a “much more suitable” service in single en suite rooms with access to modern therapy facilities.

Tony Kostick, clinical executive chairman of the PCT, said: “In Hertfordshire we spend much, much more on intermediate care than other comparable trusts, but our service is not as efficient, comprehensive and modern.

“We are talking about the big old Victorian hospitals that are hugely expensive to run and need lots of renovation. People are not getting value for money.”

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Dr Kostick said the plan has already been discussed with GPs in the area, and they are “very supportive” of the move. The scheme will now go to public consultation before a final decision is made.

A trust spokesman said: “The PCT wants to find out what people think of the proposals before taking further any steps and so we will be talking to those interested over the coming months to get their views.”

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