You’ve heard it said lots of times – our MP says it at every opportunity: ‘Labour did!’. But is this true? It’s certainly true that Labour were in power at Westminster at the time but that’s not where the decision was made:
- The decision to close Acute Services at Hemel Hempstead hospital was taken by the independent West Herts Hospital Trust.
- This decision was taken despite opposition from patient groups and local residents, including many members of the local Labour Party.
- Conservative-led Herts County Council had the statutory power to object to the closures. They chose not to exercise that power.
- The Secretary of State for Health could only reverse the plans if there had been an administrative mistake in the process. There was none, meaning the decision could not be challenged.
- The closure announcement was made in November 2006. Mike Penning has been MP for Hemel Hempstead since 2005.
- So yes, the acute services moved to Watford during Labour’s time in office at Westminster but the final decision was made by Conservative-led Herts County Council.