‘Hands off our care beds’ say campaigners

CAMPAIGNERS are calling for a ward of beds to stay at Hemel Hempstead Hospital as health chiefs debate the future of the site.

Proposals were presented to a meeting of NHS Hertfordshire on Wednesday with options to either rebuild or refurbish the hospital.

But Dacorum Hospital Action Group says none of the options include keeping a ward used by those recovering from operations and strokes.

Chairman Betty Harris said: “They will just cut them out. They should call it a health clinic as that’s what it will be.

“They say it’s cheaper to be treated at home but does the patient suffer in the meantime?”

Building a new facility on the site of Cheere House and the Tudor wing came out as the preferred option during an appraisal workshop, according to a report to the meeting in Welwyn Garden City.

However, despite the expectation of a firm decision on the way forward, it now appears a business case will only be ready in December.

Talks have been taking place over the hospital site since A&E shut in 2009.

“While it is disappointing that the board cannot take a decision on the business case at this meeting, it is important that time is taken to confirm a configuration of services that provides a sustainable solution,” the report says.

“The final configuration concerns the scale of the development rather than no development at all.”