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West Herts launches five-year plan to transform services and facilities across the region

Posted: 5 April 2024

Our Strategy 2024-2029

West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (WHTH) has launched a five-year plan which aims to transform services, facilities, and care across the region for more than 600,000 people.

The Trust’s ambitions include the building of a new state-of-art hospital at Watford General Hospital, a new elective care hub at St Albans for planned operations, while Hemel Hempstead will become a focal point for chronic and complex care treatment.

Redeveloping Watford General Hospital is one of the biggest projects of its kind anywhere in the UK, with building work expected to get underway in 2025. The government confirmed last year the rebuilding would be fully funded.

Along with the huge redevelopment plans, the new strategy emphasises how a similar transformation will also need to take place in how services are delivered to meet the changing needs of local communities.

The Trust will increasingly work as a single team with a wide range of other partners to design and deliver services that extend beyond the hospital’s walls, helping to provide proactive, preventative care that reduces dependency on hospital services.

Investment in technology and modernising patient services will be another key priority, as the Trust looks to further harness the use of data to more effectively manage services and put patients in greater control of their health records and appointments.

The Trust is already widely seen as one of the most advanced in the UK for embracing technology, establishing itself as a leader in the adoption of robotic surgery.

Its award-winning virtual hospital – which allows patients to be cared and monitored from the comfort of their own home – will be expanded, and more than 50,000 people have enrolled on the patient portal, which makes it easier for patients to book, change and cancel appointments, access personalised advice on health conditions and interact with their care team.

As one of the biggest employers in the area, with 5,800 staff, the Trust will continue to develop a pipeline of future doctors, nurses and clinicians from the local area, working in close partnership with West Herts College and other partners.

Phil Townsend, chair of WHTH, said: “Our ambitious plans build on the many outstanding successes our teams across West Herts have delivered over recent years.

“These include the award-winning work on virtual hospitals, our rapid progress on robotic surgery, the successful roll-out of a new electronic patient record, achieving teaching hospital status and improving the flow of patients through the hospital which means we can treat more people.

“I’m hugely proud of the care, dedication and passion our colleagues deliver every single day for patients and this plan will ensure we continue to progress and improve in every single area.”

Matthew Coats, chief executive of WHTH, added: “At the heart of our strategy are our patients.

“Everything we plan to do, every ambition and every improvement is designed to make their experience better, their treatment faster and the care they receive to be excellent.

“Despite the enormous challenges the NHS faces I’m full of hope and excitement for the future. The next five years will be truly transformational with a new hospital at Watford General, a new elective care hub at St Albans and redeveloping services at Hemel Hempstead.

“But this isn’t just about buildings, it’s just as importantly about how we deliver services and work together in partnership to provide the best possible care our local communities need both now and in the future.”

The five-year strategy was approved by the Trust’s board at a public meeting on Thursday 4 April.


  1. View Our Strategy 2024-2029 on West Herts Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust website
  2. For more information, please contact the communications team on: 01923 436280 or email: Out of hours, please call the Watford General Hospital switchboard on 01923 244366 and ask for the on call communications manager.
  3. 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 600,000 people and is one of the largest employers locally, with around 5,800 staff and volunteers.
  4. For more information about our hospitals, visit the trust website.. You can also join us on Facebook, X (Twitter), YouTube and LinkedIn @WestHertsNHS