Shapps welcomes decision to review Welwyn Garden City hospital downgrade

WELWYN Hatfield MP Grant Shapps has welcomed the Health Secretary’s decision to review the closure of the A&E and maternity wards at the QE2 Hospital in WGC.

As reported in this week’s Welwyn Hatfield Times, Andrew Lansley has unveiled new criteria which all NHS Trusts must meet before making any changes to the services they provide.

Consequently, the East and North Herts NHS Trust, which runs the QE2, will face a probe into its decision to axe A&E and maternity services in WGC and centralise them at the Lister in Stevenage.

Mr Shapps, who has long campaigned against the trust’s plans, said: “The Secretary of State has issued instructions which make it clear that these closures need to be put on hold whilst the community and doctors are consulted about the axing of A&E and maternity services at the QE2.”

Under the new criteria, a clear, underlying clinical reason must exist for an NHS Trust to change the services it provides.

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Any changes must also have the support of local GPs and ensure that patients can choose where they are treated.

Mr Shapps added: “Thanks to an overwhelming vote for change, local people will finally get to play a key role in the future of our QE2 Hospital.”

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Nick Carver, the chief executive of the East and North Herts NHS Trust, said: “We look forward to working with our GP colleagues to ensure that the final planned changes for the QE2 meet the Government’s new reconfiguration principles.

“We will be urging that this work happens as quickly as possible to provide clarity to our current plans, which include the delivery of the new �47 million Surgicentre and �16.4 million maternity units that are being built at the Lister.”

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