Hemel Hempstead Hospital downgrade to be debated in Parliament?

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Mike Penning at Cheer House,Hemel Hempstead Hospital
HH41 DS Mike Penning at Cheer House,Hemel Hempstead Hospital

Plans to cut services at Hemel Hempstead Hospital could be debated in Parliament, after MP Mike Penning accused health bosses of breaching the law.

Herts Valley Clinical Commissioing Group (CCG) are currently planning to replace the hospital’s urgent care centre (UCC) with a urgent treatment centre (UTC).

While the UCC has had a “temporary” cut to its opening hours since December 2016, this change would make the chorter hours more permanent.

However under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 CCGs are required to ensure public involvement and consultation in changes to health services which could have an impact on services available.

Mr Penning said: “It’s quite simple. The CCG hasn’t done it.

“They are downgrading our Urgent Care Centre without consultation.

“They are closing Nascot Lawns without consultation. They cannot do this. Local people must be involved.

“I cannot understand how they think they can take the public for granted on this.”

A spokesman from Herts Valleys CCG said: “The urgent treatment centre at Hemel Hempstead Hospital is being introduced as part of national NHS changes and will see additions to the urgent care services currently provided to bring benefits to patients.

“Our work to develop a UTC at the hospital is separate from the issue of the CCG revisiting the interim opening hours that were introduced last year.

“Although the UTC will initially have the same temporary opening hours as the urgent care centre this does not mean we have made a decision on this.

“We have always said that we would consult with the public before making a permanent decision on opening hours and this consultation will start in January.”