How services will change by site

There has been a lot of discussion in recent years about our buildings. Now that the decision has been made to retain and develop our three existing hospital sites we hope that there can be a renewed focus on our services.

Our staff are keen to start planning new ways of delivering care from modern surroundings with the latest technology and we are looking forward to providing them and our patients with first class facilities.

We are working hard to ensure that our services will be far better coordinated, more logically located and offer improved clinical safety and patient experience.

Below is a quick summary of each site. Please see the Your care, Your views document for full details about our sites and services.

Watford General Hospital will remain as our key emergency and specialist care site. There is a strong view from clinicians that patients requiring 24/7 consultant-led emergency care should be retained on specialised care site because this provides the safest and most effective care, with access to the full range of specialist expertise and equipment.

Watford will also be home to women’s and children’s services and a wide range of outpatient and clinical support services.

St Albans City Hospital will be our specialist planned surgical care and cancer services site serving the west Hertfordshire community. The hospital will be a crucial, integral and purposeful element of the redevelopment. We plan to provide planned surgery and surgical outpatients, and a new rapid diagnostics centre including MRI, CT and endoscopy to support cancer care and other specialties. This will increase the number of ‘one stop’ clinics and help us diagnose cancer more quickly.

Some cancer care will be provided from all three sites but St Albans will be the main cancer diagnostics, care and support base where patients can access a range of services without needing to travel to another site.

Our vision is for Hemel Hempstead to have a new and unique purpose as the site for specialist planned medical care for people in west Hertfordshire. It will bring together clinicians from different specialties to jointly assess, plan and deliver care in a more joined-up way.

The aim is to provide patient-centred care that has an emphasis on patients managing their conditions and staying as well as possible, with support on offer to focus on wellbeing and reducing the need to be admitted to hospital.

Outpatient services will continue to be delivered on all three of our hospital sites, it does not make clinical sense to do everything everywhere. We want to consolidate not duplicate.

Instead we’re enabling greater specialisation with most services delivered on two sites: Watford and one other, either St Albans or Hemel Hempstead. We believe this will directly link to improved patient care.

New community-based care delivery models, better joint work between hospital clinicians and primary care clinicians (such as GPs, dentists and optometrists), straight-to-test pathways and new virtual care delivery models will all reduce the need for patients to attend outpatient services in hospitals. When patients do need to attend, their needs will be more complex and multi-disciplinary, so multi-speciality input from a range of clinicians may be needed.

All three sites will continue to provide a range of outpatient appointments for antenatal and postnatal care, audiology and neurology.