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Your Care, Your Views - public share their views about changes to hospital services

Posted: 4 May 2021

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Streamlining clinical care so that fewer appointments are needed is an aim shared by the public and hospital leaders, according to a recent survey which will be presented to West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust’s board meeting this week (6/5/21).

West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust asked local people to consider its proposals for services across its three hospitals as part of its Your Care, Your Views engagement programme.

Phase one of the engagement included online public meetings and presentations to staff and community groups as well as a survey to test views on plans to redefine the role of Hemel Hempstead, St Albans City and Watford General hospitals.

At the heart of plans for all three sites is the move towards ‘one stop’ clinics. These are appointments where as many steps of treatment as possible are arranged within one visit.

A significant investment in diagnostic equipment at each hospital is on the cards so that patients can have test results without waiting and move on to planning their next stage of treatment – if needed – immediately.

The survey, which was completed by just under 1,700 people, asked patients to rank a range of issues in order of importance. At the top of this list was the ‘one stop’ model with ‘diagnostic tests and services available at the same time and in the same place, reducing the need for patients to visit hospital several times (e.g., have a scan and then see a consultant in the same visit)’, closely followed by ‘more on-site hospital parking and transport links’ and then the need for ‘new buildings that improve the experience for patients and visitors, including more single room wards, more green spaces, and better on-site facilities’.

Deputy Chief Executive, Helen Brown said: “Making the most of our patients’ time at our hospitals really matters, which is why we place such an emphasis on the ‘one stop’ model which will save numerous trips and remove time waiting for results. We were pleased to see that this is something that our patients also hold dear.”

She added: “The feedback from the survey also underlined what we had heard loud and clear already – there are concerns around travel to hospital. We hope to reduce the burden by converting appointments to online, where this works for patients, to provide a range of care locally and by combining as many steps of treatment into one appointment where possible. However, with some locations for more specialist services changing across our three sites, it is important to understand where we can address worries about getting to and from all of our hospitals.”

The trust is setting up a travel and access reference group for local people who want to work with the trust on access to its three sites. If you would like to express your interest in joining this group please email

A new multi-storey car park, which is set to open next spring, will improve parking at Watford General Hospital.

In terms of the need for new buildings, which was also highlighted as a key issue, the trust is approaching completion of an outline business case which will be submitted to the government this autumn to bid for funds.

Its plans include for each of the hospitals to have a more clearly defined role. Emergency, inpatient and complex care will remain at Watford; Hemel Hempstead Hospital will be the centre for planned medical care and long term conditions and St Albans City Hospital will be the centre for planned surgery and cancer care. Urgent care services and some outpatient services will be provided at all three sites.

Diagnostic facilities will be significantly upgraded at all three hospitals and the latest digital technology will be incorporated.

Phase two of the engagement programme begins next week. Chief Medical Officer Mike van der Watt said: “We’d like to thank all those who took part. Our engagement enabled us to join community meetings across west Hertfordshire and we are very grateful for the invitations and warm welcome. We are also pleased to see that our public meetings, which were led by senior clinical staff, have had more than 1,000 views.”

Recordings of engagement meetings can be found here.

More information on phase two of the engagement will follow next week.

  1. For more information, please contact West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust communications team on: 01923 436280 or email: Out of hours, please call 07900 228031.
  2. West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust serves people from across Hertfordshire, north London and further afield. It operates from three hospitals; Watford General, St Albans City and Hemel Hempstead. The trust has a catchment area of over 500,000 people and is one of the largest employers locally, with around 5,000 staff and volunteers.
  3. The board papers can be viewed here alongside the full survey results on pages 185-277.
  4. For the latest information about the OBC please see our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ information sheet.
  5. For further information about Your Care, Your Views or to see other materials related to the redevelopment programme please go to our website
  6. If you are member of the public with an interest in the future of hospital services in west Hertfordshire please join our Stakeholder Reference Group and if you are a member of staff or healthcare partner please join our Professional Reference Group. Application forms for both can be found on our website