Health & Welfare - Looking back
The NHS has had a turbulent year. At a National level, there have been major difficulties dealing with the backlog of planned investigations and treatments delayed by the pandemic. These problems have been exacerbated by the extra time needed to ensure that diagnostic units and operating theatres are ‘COVID safe’,effectively reducing overall capacity. This has been reflected in the longer waiting times at our local hospitals, (typical of the whole NHS), both for outpatient appointments and elective care.
West Hertfordshire University NHS Trust
The proposed new build is in Cohort 3 of the National New Hospital Programme- still waiting for financial approval of the outline business case. The outline plans include a possible relocation of the Mount Vernon cancer centre to the West Herts site.
In September 2022, the Trust announced new £12 million funding for enhanced diagnostic services at St Albans City Hospital, including new MRI and CT scanners, due to open in 2024.
The new urgent care hub opened at St Albans City Hospital in October 2022.
Luton and Dunstable Hospital
The upgrading of the Emergency Department and main ward blocks continues.
Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care System
The new Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care System went live in July 2022, and has recently published it’s strategy for the next three years.
The mission statement for the ICS is ‘responsible for commissioning the right services for the communities we serve’. The ICS has a budget of £2.8billion.
An important part of the Integrated Care System is:
THE SOUTH AND WEST HERTFORDSHIRE HEALTH CARE PARTNERSHIP
The South and West Hertfordshire HCP covers the following areas.
St Albans and Harpenden
To support priorities in our area, the HCP has been delivering change in several areas.
One of these areas is the virtual hospital, where patients who would ordinarily require hospital care, are monitored with digital support at home. The virtual hospital was started at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, by West Herts .
This initiative has been implemented across England. The hospital has since evolved into a highly successful integrated service, run by the HCP. The care it provides now extends to people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and heart failure. Over 7,000 people have been treated overall, so far, with good feedback from patients
Primary Care Networks, (PCNs),are groups of healthcare professionals who work together to provide coordinated and comprehensive care to patients in a community.
Harpenden Health PCN is the collaboration of Davenport House Surgery, The Village Surgery and Elms Medical Practice. The PCN staff includes GPs, nurse practitioners, pharmacists and other healthcare providers, who collaborate to offer services such as chronic disease management, mental health support, and preventative care.
The goal of PCNs is to improve access to healthcare and enhance the quality of care for patients by offering more coordinated, patient-centred and more personalised services.
The Network is building on the excellent collaboration with local organisations which developed during the pandemic. One example is the partnership with the Harpenden Trust and MIND providing a local well being hub.
The Harpenden Health Network will be the focus of the autumn meeting of the Society on October 19th 2023.
The Harpenden Memorial Hospital
What Services are available?
Connect, an independent company, continue to deliver MSK, (musculoskeletal) services. There are on site Pulmonary and Cardiac rehabilitation face to face programmes, running for patients in the St Albans and Harpenden locality.
Podiatry clinics are still running and the neuro rehabilitation service is continuing . Diabetic eye screening is available.There are lymphoedema, speech and language therapy and sleep (respiratory) clinics ,and the long standing phlebotomy service.
The clinical and office areas have had a substantial upgrade.
The Red House Saga - a bit of history
The Harpenden Society have for many years, been leading the campaign to ensure that the Red House site is developed with an ongoing medical service for the Harpenden community. And in support they established the Red House Forum in 2012, a ginger group with across-the-board membership, to steer the campaign. Key organisers, still active being Chris Marsden, former Harpenden Society chair, as chairman, with Eric Midwinter and Cllr Teresa Heritage.
This saga shows no sign of resolution despite promises from various NHS providers in the last decade. The Covid pandemic is of course a legitimate reason for delayed action of significance so it is worthwhile to remind ourselves at how we arrived in the current situation. The last 3 years have been traumatic.
The owners of the site Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust (HCT) finally presented their plans for a redevelopment of the whole of the existing Harpenden Memorial Hospital site. They would create a new Health and Wellbeing Centre in the existing Stewarts building (ready for use' by late 2020) funded by the sale of the remainder of the site for a new housing development and the Red House building being converted into apartments..
The future of the Red House development (including the Health and Wellbeing Centre ) was thrown into doubt by fundamental changes in NHS operating structures. Ownership of the site was transferred to Central London Community Healthcare Trust (CLCH) as the new provider for adult community health services in west Hertfordshire from the Autumn.
CLCH announced that the planned opening of Harpenden's Health & Wellbeing Centre would now be delayed until 2023. As the new guardians of the site they have had to assess all the previous work by the Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust, much of it complex, before rationalising and submitting their plans and budgets to Government. The revised plans were due for approval in 18 moths time ( March 2021) with the opening now planned for 2023.
A site meeting at the Red House revealed further delays. Two representatives of Capita on behalf of Central London Community HealthCare NHS Trust advised the following:
They are reviewing the whole concept proposed by HCT including using the site for house building.
They presented us with floor plans of the Red House building to show Phase 1 of the upgrades which will allow for additional services such as Podiatry, Tissue viability, Bladder and Bowel to be introduced, subject to internal sign off. Works were due to start in early March 2020 and they hoped to complete phase 1 by June.
Further information on the critical development of medical services will be advised going forward. The COVID pandemic curtailed most of the activity and all communication during the year.
Email contact was made with the Capita contact as per Dec 2019. They advised that the Covid difficulties had caused delays but some progress had been made in the areas we have upgraded. The Main Red House building is currently rolling out the Vaccine to NHS staff & Care Home Staff, and CLCH NHS Trust have continued to carry out the upgrade works to the building so this is ready for the services once we are able to stand this back up.
CLCH have to date in the Red House:
The main corporate management team have now relocated into the 1st floor, with additional transformation plans to be rolled out when it is safe to do so. The Stewarts is now owned and managed by another NHS Trust - Hertfordshire Mental Health trust so it does not feature directly in their plans.
WE AWAIT FURTHER INFORMATION.