New hospital for Hemel?: ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way’

Betty Harris, chair of Dacorum Hospital Action Group
Betty Harris, chair of Dacorum Hospital Action Group
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The chair of Dacorum Hospital Action Group says a brand new modern hospital for Hemel is entirely possible – if health bosses are willing to make it a reality.

Following the restrictions placed on Watford General Hospital’s A&E last week, Betty Harris – who has been an active member of Dacorum Hospital Action Group (DHAG) since the 1970s – said: “I was not at all surprised, just disappointed. This is exactly what we said would happen.”

But Mrs Harris, who has lived in Chaulden since the early 1950s, was quick to 
defend the NHS staff on the ground.

She said: “It’s not their fault – they do the best they can, but they are cut to the bone.

“Hemel is growing and is only going to get bigger. I believe that if there’s a will, there’s a way. There is so much money sloshing around in this country.

“Look at Welwyn Garden City – they opened a brand new hospital, the QE2, in June last year.

“The chief executive [of East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust] Nick Carver said ‘You need a hospital? Let’s build one.’ We need someone like him.

“We were promised a brand new hospital in Hatfield, and then another at the Watford Health Campus, but that idea was binned in 98/99.

“You go into the medical profession because you care about people. You know what they say – no man is an island.”

Despite a 33,000-strong petition and the monumental fight put up by DHAG members, the West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust Hemel’s A&E department closed on March 11, 2009.