‘Madness to axe hospital services’ with Welwyn Hatfield population set to boom

WELWYN Hatfield will see a population boom over the next two decades, statistics have revealed.

The number of residents will grow by ONE THIRD – around 30,000 to 40,000 more people – the highest rate of increase in the county.

And MP Grant Shapps says this underlines the “complete madness” of axing major services at the borough’s hospital, the QE2.

Welwyn Hatfield is expected to expand by 35.8 per cent due to larger families, higher life expectancy, migration from other parts of the UK and abroad and a growth in the student population.

The average expected growth in Hertfordshire as a whole is 19.4 per cent.

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Mr Shapps said: “These projections reveal what we’ve always suspected. It is complete madness to be axing local services at our QE2 Hospital at the same time as the population is set to balloon.

“Only this Labour government could think it sensible to close the A&E and maternity services at the same time as demanding a third more people live in the area.”

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Mr Shapps added it was “ironic” the two areas of the county indicated for the least growth were Stevenage and Watford – towns both represented by Labour MPs and set to retain major services at their hospitals.

The figures, compiled by the Office for National Statistics, were contained in a review document released last month by the East of England Regional Assembly.

Decisions over which of the county’s hospitals would retain which services were made as part of the Delivering Quality Health Care for Hertfordshire strategy, run by the PCT.

A spokeswoman said: “The PCT undertook detailed work to understand how and where population growth would take place over the 20 years.

“Our projections were based on East of England population forecasts which take into account the Office for National Statistics figures as well as local housing development plans.

“At the time, Welwyn Hatfield was identified as one of the highest growth areas and this increase in population was factored in to the development of our proposals.”

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