Health Secretary gives backing to two Hertfordshire hospital developments

HEALTH Secretary Andrew Lansley has given the green light for the development of two hospitals – which means plans for a ‘New QE2’ in Welwyn Garden City can press on.

The Government minister visited the Lister Hospital in Stevenage yesterday (Thursday) to give the Department of Health and the Treasury’s approval for a �71.5m outline business case.

That means the fourth and final phase of the Lister’s �150m transformation into this area’s major hospital – at the expense of the QE2 – can progress.

And it also allows NHS Hertfordshire to move on with its plans to develop a new local general hospital on the current QE2 site in Howlands.

This will provide services including a ‘local A&E’ department, outpatient consultations and diagnostic testing services.

Mr Lansley said it would “bring a 21st century hospital to Welwyn Garden City”.

He added: “The planning application is in and I’ll be pressing the PCT to move ahead as quickly as possible with the New QE2 campus.”

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Grant Shapps, Welwyn Hatfield MP and one of Mr Lansley’s ministerial colleagues, said that although the QE2 had lost the “battle of the hospitals” back in 2007, it was now time to get on with the job of building the best possible replacement in Welwyn Garden City.