Future of Welwyn Garden City hospital hangs in the balance

THE future of the QE2 Hospital remains unclear, after the Tories formed a pact with the Liberal Democrats to form a coalition government.

One of the Tory election pledges was an immediate moratorium on hospital closure plans like that happening here – which would see major services such as A&E and maternity at the WGC hospital moved and centralised at the Lister in Stevenage.

The QE2 as we know it would then be rebuilt as a local general hospital.

Speaking to the Welwyn Hatfield Times yesterday (Tuesday), Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps vowed to take the matter up immediately with new Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.

He said: “I am writing to the Secretary of State to chase the situation, as obviously the coalition agreement is the master document now.

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“I want to clarify what happens with the moratorium and if that’s been agreed with our Lib Dem partners.”

A spokeswoman for NHS Hertfordshire said: “We would welcome discussions with incoming ministers in the new government about our plans for new services, including those around the development of a new local general hospital in WGC.”

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Under the current timetable, the maternity unit is set to centralise at the Lister in the autumn of 2011, with A&E following in the summer of 2012.

Last year, Mr Shapps warned he feared development work would be so advanced the “point of no return” would have been reached by the time a Tory government came to power.

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