Welcome to this update about our plans to provide better hospital facilities for the residents of west Hertfordshire.
Over the last few months our focus has been responding to the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19. This continues to be a priority for the trust, and we are also now looking at how we can re-establish some of the services that we needed to put on hold in order to prioritise caring for the sickest patients with COVID-19, earlier on in the pandemic. During this time, we have also not forgotten the pressing need to plan further into the future and so we are continuing to work together towards new hospital buildings opening in 2025.
We also want to work with our local communities to ensure that we can use feedback from the populations we serve to shape our plans.
As you may be aware, the Prime Minister announced last September that West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust was in the first wave of the Government’s new Hospital Infrastructure Programme (known as HIP One). This is great news and means we can plan in earnest, considering detailed costings and designs.
Behind our plans is a philosophy of making more care closer to home. Where possible, we will plan your treatment so that you only come to a busy hospital site when you need the facilities it has.
When you need a consultation, we will try to make that appointment available at a GP practice or other community facility, or even at your home by phone, video call or other technology.
Our experience during the COVID-19 outbreak has shown us that it is possible to provide support to many patients without face-to-face appointments. This is more convenient for patients and saves the NHS money.
The reason for telling you about how patients are being cared for in new ways is that this affects the kind of buildings we will need in the future.
Planning new hospital services and buildings will take into account how healthcare has changed and will continue to change, as we embrace the latest clinical and technological best practice.
The Government has committed to funding new buildings that will dramatically improve the experience of patients and staff in west Hertfordshire and we are now ready to start our detailed planning work.
This will be set out in the outline business case (OBC) which is completed using an approach set out by HM Treasury. The main purpose of the OBC is to revisit the case for change and the preferred way forward identified in the Strategic Outline Case (SOC).
The SOC was approved by the boards of West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust and Herts Valleys CCG in July 2019 outlining a way forward based on option one from a shortlist of four that were the subject of public engagement and a stakeholder evaluation process. The OBC builds on the SOC and will include updated activity modelling and the latest information on population growth and forecasts.
It must also contain the results from a review of the site options available. A key factor in deciding how suitable a site is will be how quickly it can be developed � we call this �deliverability�. Another key deciding factor is whether the site can be developed within the available funding.
Our boards will consider a raft of information as they make their decisions, including views from clinical staff, from patients and from the public. The first key milestone is to agree the shortlist of options for more detailed appraisal and we expect this to take place in the autumn.
There will be opportunities to have your say and ask questions before this point as part of an engagement programme � which will be largely online due to restrictions on public gatherings. We will be making information available over the summer and want to involve as many people as possible, so please look out for information on https://www.westhertshospitals.nhs.uk/about/redevelopment/
There are different ways to get involved from simply signing up to updates, or to joining a reference group. We will also be looking for people from the reference group to engage more deeply and inform our decision-making. Examples of this would be to work with us on the redesign of specific services and the methods we will use to assess the longlist.
If you want to be find out more about this reference group, please visit this website where there is a form for you to apply to be part of the group.
Even if you do not want to play an active part in this work, we would very much like to send you further updates. If you do not want to receive these, please let us know by emailing email@example.com with the words �unsubscribe� in.
And if you want to find out more about the work so far that has brought is to the point of developing our outline business case, you can visit https://www.westhertshospitals.nhs.uk/about/redevelopment/
We hope to hear from you.