Letter to Editor: Think again about moving hospital outside Harlow

News / Sun 7th Jun 2020 at 09:40am

PAH Board Think Again

Dear Editor,

I WAS amazed to see the article that said the hospital board intend to consult with its patients on options for services at the site of the proposed new hospital. Why have they decided to consult now when they did not ask what patients, staff or anyone who uses the hospital what they thought about relocating the hospital out of Harlow? Perhaps I am wrong in thinking they were concerned of getting a result they did not want.

With the majority of the hospital patients living in Harlow and the surrounding area and a large number accessing the hospital in its present position via the A414, does it seem sensible to make them travel further to land outside Harlow? The relocation site is not eco-friendly for transport to the site as the majority of patients are not able to use public transport due to age or disability.

This location will do nothing but create pollution as patients have to use cars, taxi or public transport to get to treatment or visit their loved ones. This is further extenuated by the fact that a very high proportion of staff reside in Harlow close to the hospital who will now be forced to travel further to work. Many people who work or volunteer get to the hospital by the existing networks close to their local homes which enable then to use green travel by walking or cycling. This is not an option when the workplace is some 4 miles away.

Come on Hospital Board think again, use common sense and build a new hospital on the existing site. It’s a lame excuse to suggest the cost will be more remaining where it is as all the services that will be needed are already in place. It has the added advantage of being able to support the mental health unit which is staying put. It’s just a logistics exercise to keep things running whilst reconstructing.

Has the hospital board taken account of the loss of footfall that will occur in the town when our town centre is struggling to survive? Relocation will be taking a way the people that use the town centre either as patients, staff or visitors. What hope have we of putting together a strategy to help the town rejuvenate?

One has to ask why is it that politicians and CEO’s make decisions without thinking or consulting the people they are going to affect.

Alan Leverett
Deputy Leader
Harlow Alliance Party

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13 Comments for Letter to Editor: Think again about moving hospital outside Harlow:

2020-06-07 12:03:15

Am curious about the belief that we can have a 21st century hospital and all that it entails on the existing PAH site, it is just simply not fit for purpose. I think it’s reasonable to say more people use PAH from outside Harlow these days, the nearest A&E is 20 miles away. One of the single biggest causes of congestion centrally at peak times, and poorly served by infrastructure. Locating PAH on its new intended site makes perfect sense to me.

2020-06-07 14:19:44

Another example of a very small group of people who give themselves a label and think they know everything. The NHS trust have been very open and honest about their approach and what they feel is the best option for a sustainable hospital site. Clearly it’s better to build new and learn the lessons from the past including the current challenge of COVID, This debate has been going on for years so why doesn’t this out of touch small gang feel they suddenly know best. The truth is they don’t want change they just want bungalows. They now want to deny local residents and local staff the right to have a say in the future provision via a new hospital build. Well I say the opposite let’s crack on. Bring it on NHS trust and let’s get behind them to deliver a first class new PAH to meet the future needs of West Essex and Hertfordshire. Stop your moaning and in the mean time please stay safe and well.

2020-06-07 15:22:23

Well durcant, lets remind readers that we are a registered political party and that in just 4 wards in May 2019 some 1331 residents put their cross in the box on the ballot paper and of those people who responded to our residents survey over two thirds wanted to see the hospital remain where it is. We are not a gang and we are not out of touch, far from it. We are entitled to have a different view.The hospital board have done very little if anything to involve patients about the new hospital. I wonder if they have taken a poll of staff about the move? I suspect why you and Harlow Council want to see the hospital move is because your Local Plan needs to see some 500 new homes built on the current site. The fact is, whilst the hospital board see a new site as the preferred option, they need have no regard to all the other issues which such a move would incur. In response to brianhope68, the bottle neck for visitors will be at the Mark Hall School roundabout, if you live to the south of Harlow you cannot enter the M11 from Loughton, those coming from the west will enter from Gilden Way, a report suggested I believe that traffic numbers will increase by 70%.

2020-06-07 15:44:35

Rather than just rant why don’t you bother to find out how unsuitable the current site is. It has served us well and it’s absolutely right that the trust will consult with the expectation to have a wonderful new hospital site Your gang as stated shouldn’t consult but agree with you and stay on site. I respect everyone has the right to have a view but denying the right to consult on this option is foolish. As a health care professional I know we need to have modern facilities to enable us to care. Many parts of PAH Site are not up to for the challenge. We should celebrate what we have achieved and build for the future. So should we close the PAH site or significantly reduce services instead of building a brand new modern designed hospital to support our widening community for the next 50years. This isn’t about housing, it’s about the health and welfare of our community Why should West Essex settle for second best just because all you want is bungalows built. Let them consult and let the people who matter most speak. I have confidence that most will back and support a new PAH.

2020-06-07 15:54:21

To add a further comment, readers may still not be aware that in due course some 10,000 homes are going to be built to the North of Harlow and over 1,000 just over the border to the south. The Local Plan proposes the building of a tramway to link these two developments, to mitigate the use of cars. The proposed route will run alongside fifth Avenue, turn into the town centre with a stop possibly by Market Square out onto Haydens Road and across the fields heading south to the Latton Priory development. Thus thousands of patients and visitors will be able to easily access the hospital if built on the present site without the need to use a car. This won't of course be the case if it is relocated to a site over the Harlow border to the East.

2020-06-07 16:50:22

You should go on mastermind with you chosen subject the local plan.

2020-06-07 16:54:06

Well we will have to agree to disagree Durcant. When I went to a meeting held by the board some 2 years ago, it was not said that the present site was unsuitable or that all services could not be provided on this site. We are not suggesting that any of the 1960's buildings remain, a new hospital could be built whilst the existing hospital remained open until the new one was completed. At the outset, we as a Party supported the view that the hospital should be re-sited but on listening to residents concerns since then about such a move, we have taken the view that wider consultation should have been taken by the hospital board before any final decision was made to move elsewhere, hence Alan's letter. The Boards consultation is not about relocating, indeed it is more about informing. We all support the need for anew hospital, it is just a case of where it is put. Don't know why you mention bungalows, another subject altogether.

2020-06-08 01:52:39

So let's be absolutely clear. HAP want to build a new World-class hospital on a cramped site and keep the current hospital open. How on earth is that going to be possible? Where would cars, ambulances and buses come in and park with two hospitals on the site? How do you suggest patients will get the rest they need on a building site? If we are having a tramway, or better still a monorail, why not build it across the town to all the major stops. If we have a cycleway all the way to the Olympic site, why not to a new hospital site. If this is new news why were we as Parliamentary Candidates talking about it all, including maps with the CEO of the hospital during the 2017 General Election? I think you are wrong on this one HAP. Also what exactly was the wording of your questionnaire question? Sure it wasn't a leading question to get the answer you wanted?

2020-06-08 06:07:53

The only good thing about the chosen site for the new hospital, is that the local cycle races will be banned. The whole mis-guided plan is a huge folly and will be blighted by traffic chaos, ask any residents in the Churchgate Street area.

2020-06-08 11:05:59

In response to UKMaverick785, we simply asked the question .. Harlow is having a new hospital, would you like to see it built a) on the present site or b) on a site close to the new junction of the M11. As I said, we had supported a move elsewhere until,we saw the results of the survey and spoken to people whilst out and about on the doorstep. We are a Party who talk to people not talk at people (with a 'we know best attitude'). Many people have asked why the former The Square site has not yet been developed and suggested that this could be used to build a multi-storey car park, freeing up all the other land being used to park cars.There are 3 entrances to the present site, where there will be only one at the new site. the new building could be put some distance from the present one, it has been clearly said that the 'foot print' of any new building will be no bigger than the size as the present hospital, but the space will be better set out to provide a more efficient use of the space.There is no proposal to construct a tramway East to West, the cost of the present proposal is huge and will cause disruption to traffic around the route for possibly some years.

2020-06-08 14:01:32

Well written tenpin. Absolutely, with the " we know best " brigade, led by the idiot durcan, like a bunch of lemmings. In reality, it will only need a collision or a traffic snarl up to bring the whole area to a standstill, where will the alternative route be, to access this hospital ? During term time, the whole area is already brought to a crawl by drivers delivering their children to any of the several schools in the catchment, let's not forget the massive developments in the pipeline for housing too.

2020-06-08 16:54:40

You always know when the argument is lost when the only reaction is to name call. I have been called worse and I suspect I may be called a lot worse. The simple and honest truth is that we all agree that we need a new hospital. What we disagree is should we rejuvenate the old or regenerate new. This new building will still be standing and enabling a first rate public service long after we’re gone. Let go back to the original point before insults are thrown out and ignored. The trust have made no secret that they feel the best for west Essex is to build new. All professional and patients groups support this. The question is now being put to the community ,let the community have their say. Pathetic personal comments will never bend or damage core beliefs and passion for Harlow. It will stop people bothering to read and engage in these important matters. Regardless please stay safe and sensible.

2020-06-08 18:42:25

You don't help your case durcant when you call HAP a gang. We in HAP will not resort to such comments. No-one has talked about rejuvenating the existing hospital, the options included building a new one on the existing site. I would be happy to learn about the professional and patient groups, who support the move, where can I find evidence of this? I am afraid you are entirely mistaken in your assertion, the question is not being put to the community. The original article was published on 13 May, which said that a major public engagement exercise would start in the next two weeks and run for the next 5 years. It went on to say it was a community and engagement programme but that relocation does not involve any changes to the range of services provided. It is therefore a passing on of information, not a consultation exercise. I have looked on the PAH website this evening, there is nothing there yet about engaging with patients.

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