MP's concern at silence over Welwyn Garden City hospital

NO news, it is often said, is good news. But not when it comes to what s replacing the QE2 Hospital when major services are axed, according to Grant Shapps. The Welwyn Hatfield MP said he was becoming increasingly concerned about the silence emanating fro

NO news, it is often said, is good news.

But not when it comes to what's replacing the QE2 Hospital when major services are axed, according to Grant Shapps.

The Welwyn Hatfield MP said he was becoming increasingly concerned about the silence emanating from the East and North Hertfordshire PCT over the proposed new local general hospital.

This will provide minor services on the current QE2 site in WGC when the Lister in Stevenage is upgraded.


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Mr Shapps is writing to PCT chief executive Anne Walker to demand answers.

He said: "I'm alarmed.

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"While it seems measures to close our vital services like A&E and maternity at the QE2 are steaming ahead, I see few signs the promised new local general hospital is being commissioned.

"What on earth is going on? Has there been a delay? If so, for how long?"

He added it was "absurd" hospital services were being run down at the same time the borough was being forced to look at ways of accommodating thousands of new homes.

Jacqui Bunce, programme director for the PCT, said work was currently ongoing with doctors and clinicians regarding providing the required services in the new facility.

Discussions were also taking place with Welwyn Hatfield Council and the NHS trust regarding the actual site.

"We can't just build something," she said. "Clearly we are going to be developing a new building while QE2 services are in place.

"We have to work with the trust to enable the development of the new hospital and to maintain robust facilities at that site while the changes are going through."

She hoped an outline planning application would be submitted in summer or autumn this year.

"Architects and planners are engaging in that work now," she added.

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