‘Too late to save Welwyn Garden City hospital’s services – Tories

THE Government has financially “pushed past the tipping point” of preventing services such as A&E and maternity from leaving the QE2 Hospital, in WGC.

But Conservatives are not prepared to let the moving of facilities to the Lister Hospital, in Stevenage, be made without a fuss.

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps invited his colleague, shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley, to his constituency office on Monday morning to see if they could persuade the primary care trust (PCT) it doesn’t have to shut the QE2’s services.

They concluded the Tories might not be able to rescue the situation if they got in power – but they would push the matter as far as they could now.

“We are not satisfied with the situation,” Mr Shapps, the shadow housing minister, told the WHT after Monday’s talks.

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“They [the Government] tried to create a situation whereby everything was over at Lister Hospital and have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on doing this.

“They are trying to rush through it before the election and there is only so much money available unfortunately.”

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Mr Lansley said he had seen similar situations across the country with services being moved, which had led to situations where even ambulance workers did not know which hospital provided which services.

Under the current plans, major services such as all operations, A&E and maternity would move up the motorway to the Lister.

The QE2 as we know it would be downgraded to a local general hospital, offering basic services.

The Welwyn Hatfield MP is now on the warpath to find out what is happening with the future of the WGC hospital and is organising crunch meetings with the NHS East and North Hertfordshire (the brand name for the PCT).

“You can see the Lister Hospital at the moment is like a building site, things are going on there to help move everything over, but what is happening at the QE2 now?”

A PCT spokeswoman said the programme to develop the LGH was on schedule.

This week, a team of architects has been appointed to oversee the design.

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