Fight for use of hospital site

Hemel Hempstead Hospital
Hemel Hempstead Hospital

Dacorum Hospital Action Group, who are campaigning to create a health campus on the site of the old Hemel Hempstead Hospital held their latest public meeting on May 8.

The action group hope that the creation of the campus will bring together a range of health services that are accessible to the community.

Chair of the action group Betty Harris said: “It is important the community knows that Hemel hospital is still open, albeit with fewer services that were available several years ago.

“The hospital staff are providing services that are highly regarded by the people of Dacorum.

“Given the increase in population within Hemel in recent years, we are committed to campaigning to retain all existing services.”

Later next month the group are holding a street stall in Marlowes to help increase public awareness of their proposals.

The news comes just a week after the war of words between Hemel MP Mike Penning and Labour Party leader Ed Miliband over the closure of the hospital intensified.

Mr Penning was a vociferous campaigner to save the A&E services at the hospital before it was closed by the last Labour government, which Mr Miliband was part of, in 2009.

The latest exchange comes after Mr Miliband’s party political broadcast, aired on May 14, which showed him shadowing staff at Watford General Hospital.

During the broadcast, Mr Miliband said there was ‘deep anxiety’ amongst staff but Mr Penning replied: “That anxiety has been there since the day they announced after a sham consultation that they were going to close Hemel and move it into the Watford site.”

Hemel Hempstead Hospital lost its A & E unit, children’s and maternity services, stroke unit and a host of other services as a result of the closure.

Mr Penning added: “Either the leader of the Labour party has got selective memory loss, or he’s a complete hypocrite.

“It was the Labour party that created this muddle when they closed Hemel.

“All of the issues that are being highlighted at Watford were predicted when they did this.

“They basically allowed Hemel to be destroyed.”