West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust provides acute healthcare services to a core catchment population of approximately half a million people living in west Hertfordshire and the surrounding area. The Trust also provides a range of more specialist services to a wider population, serving residents of North London, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and East Hertfordshire. Overall the population served by the Trust is relatively affluent, but there are some areas of deprivation. As an employer of over 4000 people the Trust is one of the biggest employers in the area and sees nearly a million patients each year.
The Trust’s vision is to embody in its hospitals all the principles, values and the sense of service that created the NHS by providing consistently good, safe care in a friendly, listening and informative way, as and when people need and want it and always with dignity and respect.
Within the NHS Midlands and East Strategic Health Authority cluster, NHS Hertfordshire is the main commissioner with over 300 GPs in west Hertfordshire.
The Trust has undertaken a significant programme of service and estate reconfiguration in the last few years. This included the development of St Albans City Hospital into a dedicated centre for elective surgery, the move of A&E and in-patient services from Hemel Hempstead to Watford and the development of a new Acute Admissions Unit at Watford to provide an innovative model of care and to accommodate an almost doubling of emergency activity.
The three main hospitals that the Trust operates from are:
Watford Hospital is at the heart of the Trust’s acute emergency services – the core location for inpatient emergency care, and for all patients who need the specialist emergency facilities (such as intensive care) of a major district general hospital. It also provides elective care for higher risk patients together with a full range of outpatient and diagnostic services. There are c.600 beds and 9 theatres (including 1 local theatre). Watford is also the focus of the Trust’s Women’s and Children’s services including neo-natal care.
The Trust’s maternity service is amongst the largest in south-east England with 6000 deliveries per annum. A £750k investment in Maternity services has delivered an increase in capacity, with a new six bedded transitional care unit (step up and down from the Special Care Baby Unit) for mothers and babies; three extra delivery beds; two antenatal beds; and four additional triage beds.
Hemel Hempstead Hospital has a 24/7 urgent care centre and offers other local healthcare facilities such as diagnostic services, including MRI and cold pathology, and an outpatient service that sees in excess of 100,000 out patients per year. In addition it provides 12 Stroke Rehabilitation beds. Hertfordshire Community Trust also operates intermediate care beds on site. Hemel Hempstead Hospital recently benefited from a £7m refurbishment of outpatients.
St Albans City Hospital is the Trust’s elective care centre. It provides a wide range of elective care (both inpatient low risk surgery and day-case) and a wide range of outpatient and diagnostic services with in excess of 70,000 outpatient appointments. It has 40 beds and 6 theatres (including 1 procedure room for ophthalmology) and a Minor Injuries Unit (MIU), open every day of the week from 9am – 8pm (except Christmas day).