by RenÃ© Lavanchy
MOVES to downsize two of Hertfordshireâ€™s four general hospitals have been dismissed as â€œcost-drivenâ€ and medically unproven by Unison in a report this week.
The union argues that plans to take acute services away from Hemel Hempstead and Welwyn Garden City hospitals amount to a closure, since they will lose all their in-patient beds.
And it says the real reason for the cuts â€“ in contrast to plans to build a new hospital four years ago â€“ are that the National Health Service severely underfunds Hertfordshire.
Tracey Lambert, Unison eastern region’s head of health, said: â€œWe think the proposals are cost drivenâ€, saying the east of England received Â£800 million less than the NHS national average.
East and North Hertfordshire NHS trust’s consultation says: â€œDoctors and nurses… are convinced that they will be able to deliver better, safer and more effective care from a single acute site.â€
But Unison says the cuts will reduce the number of beds by 20 per cent in a county where bed occupancy is at 95 per cent.