A&E in Welwyn Garden City 'not an option', health chiefs insist

PUBLISHED: 11:00 18 February 2018

New QEII Hospital in Welwyn Garden City [Picture: Alan Davies]

New QEII Hospital in Welwyn Garden City [Picture: Alan Davies]

Alan Davies

Health chiefs have ruled out having an A&E in WGC despite Lister experiencing "extreme pressure" during the New Year period.

East and North Herts Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has told the WHT that splitting specialist staff across Lister Hospital and the New QEII is “not an option” – citing limited resources.

It comes just over a week after Welwyn Hatfield’s MP Grant Shapps launched his Make Healthcare Local campaign, which has instating an A&E locally as one of its elemental goals.

A spokeswoman for the CCG, which plans and pays for local healthcare, said: “Funding for the NHS is limited, as is the number of expert medical and clinical staff available to us.

“Splitting that group of specialist staff across the Lister and QEII hospitals is not an option and would not have improved care for patients this winter.

“A full emergency department is not deliverable at the New QEII as it cannot operate without the full medical backup of a large acute hospital.”

The spokeswoman added that it will be inviting Mr Shapps for a meeting to discuss his campaign, along with how they can cooperate to ensure local people can access high-quality care with the money available.

WGC resident Derek Groom, who previously launched a petition to reinstate an A&E at the QEII site, said: “I can’t see the logic in the thousands of new homes and people all having to go to the Lister. I just do not get it.

“I do not think they really know what’s going on, it seems as if they are a step away from the real world.”

Mr Shapps said: “The truth of the matter is that local health bosses make decisions on where to put resources, but sadly they never seem to make them with Welwyn Hatfield in mind.

“Perhaps that’s because none of them actually live in our borough.

“Either way, even without a full A&E – and the campaign accepts that this is a longer-term objective – there is still more that could be provided in the short-term.”

He said that clinicians advising his scheme have said the New QEII’s restraining factor is that it is GP-run, which limits problems that can be treated there.

“We do not accept that an upgrade would be impossible,” Mr Shapps added, “but yes, it would take the will to provide it – something which has been sadly lacking.”

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