Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, expressed concern about the announcement of the transfer of the special care baby unit, maternity department and women?s services from Hemel Hempstead Hospital to Watford.

    Peter Lilley said: “This will cause dismay to all those women in Harpenden and St Albans who will now have to travel further. It was bad enough when the two local maternity units were centralised at Hemel Hempstead, but that move was justified at the time as guaranteeing to provide all these services locally. People will feel very let down by this.

    “I am also very concerned that this is a step towards eroding the position of Hemel Hempstead as a fully fledged acute hospital. I shall be seeking assurances that this will not lead to further hospital mergers reducing the number of general hospitals in Hertfordshire, forcing my constituents to travel yet further.

    “I am opposing this just as I opposed the original Accident and Emergency merger between St Albans and Hemel Hempstead; isn?t it strange how those who tried to make political capital out of that merger now seem willing to accept a plan which could lead to the end of acute surgery at Hemel Hempstead as well as St Albans entirely?

    “The proposed transfer of the special care baby unit and related services is said to be necessary because it is proving difficult to staff it adequately and to provide appropriate consultant cover. I have asked for assurances that there will be no risk to constituents receiving maternity or gynaecological services at Hemel Hempstead during the period before its closure.?