Welwyn Garden City hospital almost 'At point of no return'

ON the morning of Friday, June 4 2010 – or before, if Gordon Brown is so inclined – Britain will wake up to a new Government in power. And regardless of what colour rosette the ruling party be wearing as dawn breaks, there will be no going back on moves

ON the morning of Friday, June 4 2010 - or before, if Gordon Brown is so inclined - Britain will wake up to a new Government in power.

And regardless of what colour rosette the ruling party be wearing as dawn breaks, there will be no going back on moves to kill off the QE2 Hospital as we know it.

That's the fear of Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps, who claims NHS bosses are rushing through plans to centralise major services at the Lister in Stevenage.

This, he says, will ensure the "point of no return" has been reached before the nation goes to the polls - ending hopes a potential Tory administration could reverse the decision.


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Mr Shapps hit out in the wake of councillors in Stevenage giving the thumbs-up to the Lister's master plan.

He said: "It seems like there is a determination on behalf of ministers to ensure the closure programme at the QE2 is a fait accompli before people have the chance to change this rotten Government.

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"By spending millions of pounds building maternity units, car parks and new facilities at the Lister in Stevenage, they are clearly attempting to reach the point of no return, which will allow them to justify closing these services at the QE2 even if there's a change of government."

Nick Carver, chief executive of the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, dismissed Mr Shapps' claims, saying the timetable for change was agreed two years ago.

He said: "The trust is working to a programme of change across its hospitals, the timescales for which were agreed after public consultation that took place back in 2007 and was reviewed by Hertfordshire County Council's health scrutiny committee.

"The development of the Lister into the major acute hospital for the whole of east and north Hertfordshire is progressing on schedule."

For in-depth reaction from Mr Carver, and more from Mr Shapps, read this week's Welwyn & Hatfield Times.

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