Health chiefs in key talks

PUBLISHED: 11:26 20 February 2008 | UPDATED: 21:56 26 October 2009

Hospital bosses and SOS Taskforce chiefs have met for the first time since the decision to downgrade WGC s QE2 Hospital. And the meeting has been described as an extremely positive step by a borough councillor. The two parties joined up with Welwyn Hatf

Hospital bosses and SOS Taskforce chiefs have met for the first time since the decision to downgrade WGC's QE2 Hospital.

And the meeting has been described as an "extremely positive step" by a borough councillor.

The two parties joined up with Welwyn Hatfield Council's working group on Thursday to discuss the fallout of the decision to downgrade the WGC hospital.

Leading figures from the East and North Herts PCT and NHS trusts outlined how the transformation of the QE2 into a local general hospital might take place.

High on the agenda were issues such as maternity and cancer services.

The factions also discussed plans for an urgent care centre and issues such as X-rays, ultrasound and post-natal care.

Cllr Andrew Canter, from the council's working group, chaired the meeting and said that it was "really great" to get both the hospital trusts and the taskforce in the same room.

He said: "It was a case of starting the process.

"We were all agreed that it is very important that people are getting the services that we know they need.

"It was a very proactive meeting with many key issues addressed that have not been looked at before."

He also appealed to the public to contact either the working group or the Hospital SOS Taskforce with their views so they can be considered at future meetings.

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps, who chairs the taskforce, agreed the meeting was positive but said that the group was still looking into the possibility of a judicial review.

"It is good to see that there is some kind of action going on but after the farce of the consultation one cannot help but be sceptical of the meetings," he said.

"You still can't look past the fact that the fundamentals of the hospital are disappearing which will be deeply troubling for people.

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