Health & Welfare - Looking back
Many thanks to the Harpenden Health PCN (Primary Care Network) volunteers, local pharmacies, NHS Trusts and everyone else involved in delivering the COVID Vaccination programme.
The Red House
The Central London Community Health Trust continues to invest in services:
Clinic Rooms have increased from 4 to 10.Current clinical services include Podiatry ,speech and language therapy, rehabilitation for cardiac and respiratory patients, musculoskeletal referral triage, clinics for patients with bladder and bowel problems ,and diabetic retinal screening.
ENT consultations and blood tests are available in The Stewarts
Planned improvements at the Red House include resurfacing the car park, windows replacement, improval of the green spaces, and installation of electric vehicle chargers.
St Albans City Hospital Urgent Care Hub
Herts Valleys CCG are currently considering bids from potential providers of the new service, scheduled to open in October 2022.
This will be a ‘bookable ‘ service only ,via NHS 111 or GP practices, with no walk-in access.
The Hub will be staffed by Nurses with GP oversight.
The range of services offered will be publicised later in the year.
Herts and West Essex Integrated Care System.
This new overriding administrative arrangement starts in July 2022.The aim is to strengthen partnerships locally between the NHS and local authorities, hopefully providing clarity over what services are available and how these can be accessed.It is likely that the new arrangements will take several months to be implemented.
West Hertfordshire University NHS Trust
The proposed ‘new build’ at Watford is again being considered by the Trust Board at it’s meeting on May 31st .The Trust ‘will approve the recommended fresh option for all three sites after a detailed cost benefit analysis to confirm which options offer the best value.’
The Board will also take a ‘fresh eyes’ approach to the decision on October 20 to rule out building on a new greenfield site.
Unfortunately, the increase in the overall cost of the build at Watford,(now £1.1 billion),and the need to relook at the project, will lead to further delays in the delivery of new hospital facilities, with building now not likely to start until 2024.
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.