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Hertford and Stortford: Labour General Election candidate Josh Dean lashes Conservative MP Julie Marson over ‘foolishly optimistic’ new Princess Alexandra Hospital claims

Bishop’s Stortford’s MP Julie Marson has been accused of being “foolishly optimistic” over plans to build a new general hospital for constituents by 2028.

Her Labour rival at the next General Election, Josh Dean, said: “This is another broken election promise from Hertford and Stortford’s Conservative MP.

“At the 2019 General Election, the Conservatives claimed they would build 40 new hospitals – not one of them has been built and it is now clear that the new hospital promised for our local area will not be complete until at least 2030.”

Princess Alexandra Hospital
Princess Alexandra Hospital

Mrs Marson had claimed construction of a new health campus to replace ageing Princess Alexandra facilities in Harlow would commence “as soon as 2025, ready for its completion in 2028” – but PAH NHS Trust bosses have told the Indie that building is anticipated to begin in 2027.

Cllr Dean, a Hertford town councillor, said: “The NHS has not even bought the land the hospital is going to be built on. Mrs Marson’s claim that work on the hospital would begin ‘as soon as 2025, ready for its completion in 2028’ was foolishly optimistic.”

He pointed to wider Conservative health care failures including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s admission in February that his January 2023 pledge to reduce NHS waiting times had not been fulfilled.

Julie Marson and Josh Dean
Julie Marson and Josh Dean

At the same time, Mrs Marson claimed Bishop’s Stortford was getting a “full and complete” CDC (community diagnostic centre) rather than the supplementary services at the Herts and Essex Hospital that have been delivered. The Haymeads Lane site will support a full range of diagnostics – including MRI and CT scanning – at St Margaret’s Hospital, Epping.

Cllr Dean said it was increasingly difficult to get a GP appointment while plans for a new South Street Surgery have stalled despite Mrs Marson’s intervention.

“This Conservative Government’s record on the NHS is clear,” he said. “The waiting list is now at almost eight million, residents continue to experience delays waiting for ambulances and around 500,000 suspected cancer patients waited longer than the recommended two weeks to see a specialist after being referred by their GP, potentially putting lives at risk.”

Cllr Dean said his party founded the NHS and the next Labour Government would be committed to reviving it with two million more appointments a year, fewer cancer deaths by improving early diagnosis with double the number of NHS scanners and 700,000 more urgent dentist appointments.

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