Changes to care at hospitals in Welwyn Garden City and Stevenage are on track

SIR – Through his letter in last week s paper (Lister expansion – is it a done deal?), Ivan Chafen raised some important issues about the changes underway at the Lister that deserve an answer. As has been covered extensively by the WHT over the last few

SIR - Through his letter in last week's paper (Lister expansion - is it a done deal?), Ivan Chafen raised some important issues about the changes underway at the Lister that deserve an answer.

As has been covered extensively by the WHT over the last few years, the [hospital] trust is working to a programme of change across its hospitals agreed back in 2007 - not just recently.

The timescales for this work were set after one of the most extensive public consultations ever undertaken in the county, which took place just over two years ago.

Both the processes followed by the NHS and the decisions reached were reviewed and accepted by Hertfordshire County Council's health scrutiny committee.


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During that consultation, senior doctors, nurses and managers from right across the NHS in Hertfordshire, including many from the trust, spent hundreds of hours meeting members of the public in dozens of venues - ranging from town halls to scout huts.

This consultation was far from faceless; rather it engaged the public, face-to-face, in a wide-ranging debate about the future of their local health services.

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The Lister's redevelopment is progressing well and is on schedule with the timeframes agreed just under two years ago with the local politicians on the county council's health scrutiny committee:

* When the new �47 million Lister Surgicentre, which is now being built, opens in April 2011, the majority of the trust's surgery - including around 50 per cent of what takes place at the QE2 currently - will be undertaken in this new, state-of-the-art facility;

* Building of the �16.4 million expansion of the Lister's maternity unit that, when completed later in 2011, will rival the best hospital maternity services available in England, is on track to open by the end of 2011, as planned. From that point, women who have their babies in hospital will do so at the new Lister unit;

* To cope with the additional numbers of patients coming to the Lister, we are on track to complete a new multi-storey car park at the hospital by the Spring of 2011;

* Planning work is also well underway to deliver the remaining changes that will be needed to transform the Lister before the end of 2013;

* In addition, the trust continues to work with NHS East and North Hertfordshire - the new name for the local primary care trust - as it develops its plans for the local general hospital proposed for the QE2 Hospital. This new facility will provide a range of important health care services for local people - including outpatient, ante/post natal and diagnostic services.

We are very much on track, therefore, to deliver the commitments made to the people of Hertfordshire and agreed with Hertfordshire County Council's health scrutiny committee back in 2007.

Nick Carver,

Chief executive,

East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust.

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