Consultation on hospital future faces key delay

CONSULTATION on the future of Royston Hospital has been delayed for at least two months.

The hospital has been operating under a cloud since the Hertfordshire primary care trust (PCT) announced a review of intermediate care beds, of the type provided at the hospital. This has led to fears that the hospital may be closed.

Speaking in the House of Commons in February, Phil Hope, the then department of health minister of state, said that the PCT would begin “formal engagement with stakeholders about the future of intermediate care in May or June this year.”

However, this has yet to take place, and will now not begin until the end of July at the earliest.

A spokesman for the PCT told the Crow: “Work on the review of intermediate care services in Hertfordshire is a top priority. We want to make sure that any proposals we put forward are based on good clinical evidence and improved patient outcomes.

“We are aiming to take a paper to our PCT board at its next meeting at the end of July. This will then trigger a period of engagement with local people, patients and community representatives so that they can influence the development of intermediate care services for Royston.”

Royston MP Oliver Heald has written to the PCT to ask for an update on their plans for the hospital. As a result he is meeting with the county’s healthcare bosses tomorrow (Friday).

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Uncertainty surrounding the development of the hospital led The Crow to launch its Hands off our Hospital campaign last year, to stress the importance of the facility to the people of Crow Country.

In February campaigner Terry Hutt presented Mr Heald with a petition signed by more than 300 local people who want to see the hospital stay.