Monday, 12 February 2018

Health Matters - A New Hospital? Urgent Care? Pharmacies; NHS at 70

Four Issues in tonight’s DriveTime
  •          A New Hospital for St Albans?
  •       St Albans Minor Injuries upgrade to Urgent Care?
  •       Stay Well Pharmacies’ Campaign
  •       NHS at 70

1. A New Hospital For St Albans – A St Albans Resident has created a petition for a new hospital for our area – is there a case to be made?
It comes down to two issues – the location of the new Hospital, and the impact on the City Hospital.

The Strategic Review on hospital reconfiguration in our area concluded that a new hospital was too expensive and that there were very few suitable sites; an extensive piece of research concluded that the best site was at Kings Langley – next to Junction 20 – and whilst that’s virtually mid-way between Watford and Hemel it would be dreadful for St Albans patients!

The outcome of that “strategic review” was really a tactical fix (significant re-build at Watford and elective surgery at an upgraded St Albans Hospital). So there are two issues with this petition that really need clarification

1.1. Location – there is only really one site for a “centrally located” hospital – that triangle of land between the M1 and the M25 at Bricketwood.  But experts have ruled that out apparently. Alternatives are on the Crown Estate land between Redbourn and Hemel or the old Handley Page site between London Colney and Radlett. But both of those would be unacceptable to Watford residents!

1.2. Impact on St Albans City Hospital – a new hospital would almost certainly mean that all three other hospital sites would close (Watford, Hemel and St Albans); so if you sign this petition, is that what you want?

We need further clarification on these points!

2. Minor Injuries to Urgent Care?
Have you ever wondered why both Hemel and Welwyn have Urgent Care Centres but St Albans only has a Minor Injuries Unit? Indeed – what’s the difference? The key point is that Minor Injuries is nurse-led with minimal diagnostics, whilst Urgent Care is doctor-led with extensive diagnostics.

For some time now, the organisation responsible for these units – Herts Urgent Care has wanted to standardise these centres and provide Urgent Care facilities at St Albans. But our local Commissioning Group (who hold the purse strings!) are reluctant saying there is no evidence of demand for such a unit in St Albans. Recently, patients going to our MIU average just 25 per week! So our local Patient Group has launched a Survey today. Please go to
to have your say.

3. Stay Well Pharmacy
A new campaign launched today seeks to promote Pharmacies as a first “port of call” for minor ailments. The campaign claims that last year 18m people had a GP consultation and 2m people went to A&E when they could have gone to a Pharmacist! Watch out for the advertising and see if it helps! For more details go here (the NHS site wasn’t available in time for this blog!

4. NHS at 70 – This is the year that the NHS, turns 70; July 5th is a significant day and an opportunity for us, as patients, to appreciate and support all of those dedicated NHS staff. There’s a great little video on Facebook that

And also an excellent web page that highlights some of the activities that we can get up to to show our support; for example – and I’ve signed up for it – the NHS 1,000 mile challenge. I’m a bit behind schedule at the moment (done 100; should be on 120) but I’ll catch up when the weather improves!

So, this is a great time to support your NHS!

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