Outcome of PCTs hospital services review

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Outcome of PCTs’ hospital services review
Stevenage, UK – 10 November 2006 – Following its review of the clinical and
financial assumptions underpinning Hertfordshire’s Investing in your Health strategy,
the county’s two primary care trusts (PCTs) have today announced that the proposed
new hospital in Hatfield is not affordable.

In reaching this conclusion, however, the PCTs supported the principle established
through Investing in your Health that acute hospital services in east and north
Hertfordshire need to be centralised on a single site. Now that the Hatfield project is
no longer going ahead, the only two sites on which this can happen are at the Lister
in Stevenage or the Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) in Welwyn Garden City. The PCTs are
now undertaking further work to test several options, prior public consultation starting
in early 2007 on the future of hospital services across Hertfordshire.

Commenting on the PCTs’ decision, the Trust’s chairman, Richard Beazley, said:
“Over the last three years, our staff – along with their colleagues elsewhere in the
NHS and many from the community – have worked exceptionally hard to develop
plans for the proposed new hospital in Hatfield. Today’s news, therefore, will be
greeted with disappointment by us all. However, we have to be realistic. Much has
changed since July 2004 when the Hatfield project received the support of the then
health secretary, Dr John Reid, with perhaps the biggest change being the highly
challenged financial positions of virtually all the NHS organisations in Hertfordshire.”

Mr Beazley continued: “The challenge facing the Trust now is to accept the decision
and to develop new proposals that will still allow us to deliver the vision set out in
Investing in your Health – high-quality specialist acute services in modern facilities
that allow our clinical staff to offer better and sustainable standards of care than is
the case today.”

2/Outcome of PCTs’ hospital services review

Nick Carver, the Trust’s chief executive, said: “I know that many of our staff, as well
as the public, will feel very disappointed by this development. We must not lose
sight, however, of the fact that the underlying principles of Investing in your Health –
more patients having routine treatments in facilities closer to where they live and
consolidation of specialist acute services on fewer, but bigger hospital sites –
remains in place. Maintaining the status quo, therefore, is not an option for the
future. Hatfield represented the Trust’s longer-term solution to its current clinical,
operational and financial challenges.       With its passing, the need to bring acute
services together must still be addressed.           We will, of course, work with our
colleagues in the PCTs to ensure that they have all the information that they need to
develop robust plans to take to public consultation.”

The East and North Hertfordshire and West Hertfordshire PCTs are now embarking
on a period of detailed refinement of its initial analysis on the consolidation of acute
hospital services across the county. This work, which is projected to be complete by
the end of January 2007, will involve input from the Trust’s staff – including clinicians
– on the PCTs’ proposals for the future of acute hospital services in east and north

It is anticipated that public consultation could begin as early as February 2007. With
this point in mind, the East of England strategic health authority has requested that
the Trust does not start its own consultation on interim service changes for women’s
and children’s services, which instead should be included as an integral part of the
PCTs’ consultation in the new year.

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For more information, please call Peter Gibson, head of public affairs on: 01438 781522
(direct line) or Jo Arthur, public relations officer on: 01438 781736 (direct line); for out-
of-hours calls, please page the duty press officer on 07659 103839.

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