Letter to Editor: A new hospital for Harlow? Not in my lifetime

Your Say / Fri 24th Nov 2023 at 01:57pm

Dear Editor,

A new hospital for Harlow? Yeah, but not in my lifetime! I hope I’m wrong but I fear that hope has fragile foundations.

Mr Halfon states on his website: “After a decade of lobbying and a pledge at the last General Election, the Government confirmed on 25th May 2023 that Harlow’s new hospital will open in 2028, with construction starting in 2025.” Once again, people’s expectations have been “mismanaged”. I’m trying to be polite.

I attended a meeting a few months ago where Michael Meredith, director of strategy and estate for Princess Alexandra Hospital, confirmed that the proposed, preferred site for the new hospital has not yet been purchased.  I believe that remains the case. So we have a new dawn rising over the artist’s impression of the new hospital’s façade but still no certainty as to where it might go. One might think that could be a critical factor.

In the meantime, as reported in local and national media in February this year, staff and patients have to put up with “raw sewage” smells and leaks.

This is not just anecdotal. I began this year with six weeks in the care of staff at Princess Alexandra Hospital, and, by and large, that care was excellent. However, in the later part of January I was in a single hospital room, isolated prior to surgery. Relaxing on my bed one afternoon, I gradually became aware of a drip, drip, dripping and then noticed its source was from a brown stain and a leak emerging in the ceiling above my washbasin. I alerted the staff and I was quickly compelled to vacate the room. That room was subsequently out of bounds for a whole week and I was unable to isolate. Oh, well, at least I lived to tell the tale.

Nobody, staff or patients, should have to work or be treated, cared for, in such conditions.  The fact that the staff manage to show such resilience and compassion despite these conditions is highly commendable. Likewise, the senior managers do what they can to mitigate the problem, as evidenced in the Your Harlow report in August on the opening of the new Technical Service Unit at PAH in July this year.

So let’s go back to my earlier point about managing people’s expectations. NHS senior managers at PAH are currently saying, “We are at the moment estimating a new hospital towards the end of 2030.” That assumption will be built upon a number of critical factors, such as the purchase of the site and the commencement of building work. Could someone provide us Harlow citizens with a list of those critical factors and their respective target dates. I think it might be called a “project timetable”.

Ian Beckett

Spencers Croft

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6 Comments for Letter to Editor: A new hospital for Harlow? Not in my lifetime:

2023-11-24 14:18:49

Surprise surprise. Halfon fails to deliver yet again.

2023-11-24 15:43:01

Nothing wrong with the old hospital . It just needs more staff. Funny how all these people coming over, are not doctors or nurses like people say they are. Seems like most of the people coming over are weird blokes with previous convictions who just hang about the streets and sponge off of us . This country is a laughing stock and we pay for them here, yet this government attack the disabled, who have usually paid into the system before they were unwell. God forbid you don’t ever get unwell if you are from an underprivileged family In this country. The country would rather look after someone who just got here than you. .

2023-11-25 13:45:50

Oh dear Ken, perhaps it is time to put down your copy of the daily mail. Those immigrants actually keep the NHS going, big percentage of the NHS is thanks to skilled, smart and hardworking, be thankful instead of using this platform to spout your nonsense. If you really want to know why the NHS is struggling, look at your history. The cons, when they came into power, cut funds, cut bursaries for training midwives, nurses, radiographers and cut the number of doctor training places. They were warned not to do with as would create a crisis in the future, well, that crisis is now. This isn't anybody elses fault, than out own, home grown conservative party.

2023-11-25 16:58:25

To all the people who believed Boris Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

2023-11-25 21:58:28

Another Halfon fail. I can count four elections that RH has campaigned on getting a new hospital and three occasions when he said he personally had succeeded in getting the project agreed. The truth is the new hospital remains nothing more than an aspiration.

Mark Gough
2023-11-30 13:23:57

Actually Tracy, the staffing issues are not to do with underfunding per say. Both large parties have kept a cap on the number of Medical School and Nurse Training places at 7,500, only recently increased by the Tories to 10,000. Hardly much help when the shortages are at 100k! Also a massive amount of money is still being flushed away down the 30 year hole which is PFI repayments - over 80% of which were signed under the last Labour Government. These payments don't help us get or pay any new frontline staff, or get a single person treated! Until every hospital has their own Medical School and Nurse Training Centre to train their own staff, and all these PFI agreements are renegotiated, the NHS will struggle to move forward. Mark Gough - Reform UK

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