I am writing to you because we are seeing a huge increase in people coming to A&E, in fact 600 more patients each month compared to last year. These people are coming from Watford and the surrounding areas, as well as from further afield.
I must now say thank you to our incredibly dedicated staff, who have worked tirelessly in the face of huge pressure to maintain our performance and excellent clinical standards. Some of our patients’ experience of A&E has not been good during this incredibly busy time and for that I am sorry. With the support of NHS Hertfordshire and Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group we are increasing the hospital’s capacity with new state of the art mobile bedded units and we’ll have a new 36-bedded unit by the end of the year. We’ve also improved the way in which we treat and admit patients using a new Clinical Decision Unit. I want to reassure everyone that the Trust is managing to cope with the extra people coming to use our services and patient safety has not, and will not, be affected.
Our inpatients, people who are admitted to a bed and stay overnight, are telling us that we’ve made significant improvements and that their overall experience of our hospitals is good. Recent weeks have tested our ability to provide the same positive experience in A&E.
NHS Hertfordshire has a very good GP Out of Hours service which can be contacted outside of normal GP surgery hours on 03000 33 33 33 or visit: www.wheredoigo.org.uk. They will help people decide which NHS service is right for them.
Now, looking ahead to the future, the Trust is a committed partner in the delivery of the Watford Health Campus. This scheme will transform the current hospital site, creating green open spaces, tranquil water frontage and welcoming public spaces. Eco friendly buildings will also help create a much more accessible healing environment. We are working hard to fulfil our vision for a modern general hospital for Watford, potentially in a phased approach. We already have £7m for a new access road to the hospital and not only that, the ‘Croxley Rail Link’ will extend the Metropolitan Line to a new station nearby. Emergency and normal access to the site will be dramatically improved.
Most readers will know, and understand the land around the hospital and the slope of the site, which doesn’t help when trying to piece together the Campus ‘jigsaw’. Using the current allotment sites would really help the future redevelopment of the hospital and make its delivery more certain. But remember this is not just about the hospital. The Campus also creates jobs for local people, affordable homes and other benefits for Watford and we should be and indeed are, working together to make it happen.
Chief Executive, West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust.