Lister or QEII?
LISTER Hospital will not be closed but plans to build a super-hospital in Hatfield have been scrapped. The Hertfordshire Primary Care Trusts have confirmed hospital services will continue at both Lister and the QEII but acute and emergency care will be se
LISTER Hospital will not be closed but plans to build a super-hospital in Hatfield have been scrapped.
The Hertfordshire Primary Care Trusts have confirmed hospital services will continue at both Lister and the QEII but acute and emergency care will be separated from planned care and concentrated on only one of the sites.
Infuriating MPs, chief executive of the Hertfordshire PCTs, Anne Walker, also confirmed the new 700-bed hospital at Hatfield will not be built.
She said: "Inpatients are spending less time in hospital and more patients are being treated closer to their homes. The local health community needs fewer hospital beds than anticipated and a new 700-bed hospital at Hatfield is no longer the best use of taxpayers' money."
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Nick Carver, chief executive of the East and North Herts NHS Trust, said: "I know that many of our staff, as well as the public, will feel very disappointed by this development.
"On the other hand, many clinical staff recognise that we need to make changes.
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"The current configuration of services is not sustainable because of cost."
In a letter addressed to all staff members of the Trust, signed by Mr Carver and the Trust's chairman Richard Beazley, it said: "The PCTs' decision must be seen against an environment where most NHS organisations locally face major financial deficits."
The PCTs' decision means, subject to public consultation early next year, the Lister or QEII will become the Trust's main site for acute hospital services in future.
This will require significant investment - believed to be in the region of £200m - and will take several years to complete.
It will leave the other hospital with just basic services including a scaled down A&E, outpatients, blood tests and X-rays.
Mr Carver said: "There is a slight advantage for Lister because the site is bigger and the quality of the building is better. The advantage for the QEII is the great density of population but a decision has not yet been made."
The PCTs have also confirmed that where an area does not host acute services locally, compensating investment will be made in local primary and community care facilities.
Further enquiries will be conducted by the PCTs before taking the decision to public consultation early next year.
A final decision is expected to be made by late summer of 2007.