East Herts prescribes health care investment for district
A new health and wellbeing campus to care for patients from Bishop's Stortford and across East Herts is at the top of the district council's agenda for 2018.
At their last full meeting of 2017, members called for urgent action by the Government to ensure investment to replace Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow on a new site.
Bishop’s Stortford’s Cllr Norma Symonds, who fell and broke several ribs late last year, told colleagues: “I spent ten days in Princess Alexandra – the care I received was great but the estate is crumbling.”
She backed a resolution, proposed by the executive member for health and wellbeing, Cllr Eric Buckmaster, about the looming care crisis at the Hamstel Road facility. He said: “The council recognises the conscientious commitment of staff at Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) and notes with extreme concern their current recruitment needs and physical infrastructure needs.
“Staff shortages, including a nurse vacancy rate of 25%, have left wards struggling to cope with the number of patients.
“The accident and emergency department also struggles to deliver the national four-hour standard. “Many parts of the physical infrastructure at PAH are beyond its designed life and it is unable to accommodate patients in a manner appropriate for a 21st century health facility. Indeed, water ingress and sewage egress, in some vital areas, present a real risk to the integrity of the hospital.”
He said Bishop’s Stortford’s MP, Mark Prisk, must back their plea and ensure his constituents benefit from a raft of comprehensive and centralised services.
The Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust is currently formulating a business plan and Cllr Buckmaster said councils and clinical commissioning groups in West Essex and East Herts must work together to press NHS England and NHS Improvement to deliver the health care the area desperately needs.