New hospital facility launched at Hemel Hempstead - but not all patients are convinced

Hospital campaigner Edie Glatter outside Hemel Hempstead's Urgent Care Centre. ENGPNL00120131025134611
Hospital campaigner Edie Glatter outside Hemel Hempstead's Urgent Care Centre. ENGPNL00120131025134611

Hemel Hospital launched its new-look urgent treatment centre (UTC) on Friday – but patients have already branded it a disappointment.

The UTC replaces the Urgent Care Centre (UCC), which was itself introduced when 
Hemel’s A&E closed in 2009.

Health bosses say the 
facility will offer patients new benefits such as booked 
appointments through NHS111, plus on-site testing 
for some conditions such as sepsis and deep vein 
thrombosis.

But patients are unimpressed that the UCC will not be a 24-hour facility, with hours having been cut back on a “temporary” basis 12 months ago.

Edie Glatter, vice-
chairman of the Dacorum Hospital Action Group, said: “I want to support the launch of the UTC but am so disappointed that at present it is not providing us with anything new.

“We are not even being given back our 24-hour service which was promised when acute services were moved to Watford and which was shut at night on a temporary basis a year ago.

“Tests are being offered for the future but only two are mentioned. Why launch a supposedly new service before these are in place?

“We have been made many promises in the past that 
never materialised.”

Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which oversees local healthcare, say that the future opening hours will be subject to a local consultation in the new year.

Urgent care lead Dr Richard Pile added: “Having a simpler system with a more consistent offer will help to guide choices by patients, carers and health and care professionals so that people get the right level of care for their needs.

“The more we can meet people’s needs outside of emergency departments the better for everyone.”