Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, told local NHS managers that local residents want to keep both the Lister and the QE II as full General Hospitals. Managers must set out the costs and benefits of keeping both hospitals, rather than just considering which of the two sites any merger should favour in their forthcoming review of acute hospital services in Hertfordshire.
Peter pressed these points at a private meeting with top managers from The East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust on Monday 12th March. Speaking afterwards, he said, “Constituents understandably start from the position of wanting to keep Acute Hospital Services open at both the Queen Elizabeth II and the Lister. They are angry when the decision to centralise the two hospitals is taken for granted without any hard facts and figures to justify that change. There may be good clinical or financial reasons behind proposals to merge services. If so we need to see them spelt out in concrete detail and persuade people such centralisation is necessary. What makes people angry is services shutting without good reason, or ‘smoke and mirrors’ consultations which simply rubber stamp a decision already made.
“Local NHS management must make it clear why any such change will lead to an improvement not a deterioration in services, in language designed to inform, not confuse, the general public.”