NHS is under fire after hospital bombshell

THE bombshell that the Hatfield super-hospital will not be built and the future of Lister Hospital s acute services is uncertain has left feelings running high. North East Herts MP Oliver Heald said: The NHS in Hertfordshire has wasted millions of pounds

THE bombshell that the Hatfield super-hospital will not be built and the future of Lister Hospital's acute services is uncertain has left feelings running high.

North East Herts MP Oliver Heald said: "The NHS in Hertfordshire has wasted millions of pounds and thousands of hours on the Investing in Your Health process.

"We were promised a super-hospital to deal with the worst medical conditions but now, years later, after cuts being made to local services, the scheme is scrapped.

"This is no way to run the NHS and will show local residents where a lot of hard-earned taxpayers' money has gone.

"I hope this means that there will now be adequate investment at Lister Hospital and that there will be a proper plan put in place for the future."

Barbara Follett, MP for Stevenage, said: "I am very disappointed indeed to hear the Hatfield hospital is definitely not going ahead. It would have provided a much needed trauma facility for Hertfordshire and an even more needed cancer centre.

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"I am also glad that it is now clear that Lister is not going to close.

"We must now look to the future. My main concern is to ensure that the people of Stevenage get the best medical and emergency attention possible.

"That, as far as I am concerned, means upgrading the A&E services at Lister to trauma level and making sure the QEII A&E unit remains open.

"It also means developing cancer services within at least two hospitals in Hertfordshire as quickly as possible.

"I do not think it is right for very sick people to have to travel out of the county week after week for essential radiotherapy and I will do all I can to stop this misery.

"Finally, I would urge local politicians to try to work together on this very important matter.

"The hospital situation in Hertfordshire has arisen, partly, because over the past 20 years both Labour and the Conservatives have been loathe to grasp the service reconfiguration nettle.

"I know that it is, and will be, tempting to try to get the right decision for our constituencies by sensationalising the situation. But this is, and would be, wrong.

"This is about people's health, not party politics."

MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, Peter Lilley, said: "What has happened is an appalling breach of faith.

"We have had to accept cuts in local Hertfordshire services in return for a promised super-hospital which we were told would be a centre of excellence. "Now it emerges we will still have to accept the cuts in our local health service but we will not get the super-hospital to compensate for this.

"The whole consultation process of Investing in Your Health, which involved thousands of hours of valuable employees' time at great expense to the taxpayer, has now been shown to be nothing more than a hugely expensive pre-election spin operation.

"As far as Lister Hospital is concerned, I am relieved it is not to be the victim of further cuts and I will ensure that the local health trust and the minister realise that extra resources must be committed for Lister Hospital."

Alistair Burt, MP for North East Bedfordshire, said: "It's a sign of the chaos in the way in which the Government is running the health service that, after so much debate and so much hard work about the hospital in Hatfield, suddenly its been scrapped.

"It's a kick in the teeth for everyone who invested their time in the Investing in Your Health initiative.

"Mrs Hewitt (health secretary of state) insists on telling us that we have never had it so good in the health service and yet, out there in the real world, decisions like this mean her comments are treated as a joke."

He added: "We will keep a careful watch of the A&E services. My constituents have a particular affinity to Lister and we will wait and see what happens."

MP for Mid Bedfordshire, Nadine Dorries, said: "I would encourage members of the public to take full advantage of the public consultation exercise that has been instigated by the East and North Hertfordshire Primary Care Trust and ensure they get their views across as to the type and quality of health services they want to see locally.

"Residents will want reassurances that any proposed changes will not undermine patient care or reduce accessibility to services, such as A&E for example.

"The provision of high quality and locally available acute services for patients in the NHS must be our main priority.