Harpenden Memorial Hospital will be a 'vibrant hub for health and wellbeing'

Plans to make Harpenden Memorial Hospital a "vibrant hub for health and wellbeing" have been announced.

Residents will get the chance to view the plans at a meeting on Thursday, October 24, which proposes to turn Red House into an integrated Health and Wellbeing Campus.

Redevelopments of the hospital, which has seen a gradual deterioration and loss of services over the years, include introducing a health hub which provides a coffee shop, dental services, a day centre, kitchen services, as well as talks to establish on site residential accommodation.

Eric Midwinter, member of the Red House Forum, said he welcomed the new proposals.

He said: "For many this is a step forward after 20 years of deterioration of Red House. We are quite excited.

"This is a strategic vision. This will be integrated working across the board to provide health and wellbeing services.

"This health and wellbeing centre will be for the people of Harpenden. The services will be localised for patients, so they won’t have to travel long distances and will instead walk and drive."

There was a loud outcry from residents in 2006 when the Red House community hospital’s residential wing was closed.

Since then The Harpenden Society’s health and social welfare working group has been actively involved in deciding the future of the Red House.

Harpenden MP, Peter Lilley said: "It is very encouraging that, following Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust’s commissioning of a strategy for redeveloping the Harpenden Memorial site, we now have such a concrete business case for the creation of an integrated Health and Wellbeing Campus.

"The proposal envisages a centre for people to manage their healthcare needs, which will bring health and social care professionals together on one site.

"Healthcare provision in the community has changed vastly in the last 20 years, with an increasing number of people requiring both health and social care.

"The Community Hospital model with provision of secondary care services is becoming less relevant. Care close to home delivering integrated health and social care of the kind that the proposed site at Harpenden Memorial will provide will be essential and is in line with what is prescribed in the 2013 Care Bill.

"We, at last, appear to be moving in the right direction to ensure that this site is fully utilised to meet the health and social needs of local people. But there are still a number of hurdles to jump before we can be sure of the future of the Red House.

"I will continue to support the elected representatives at all levels of local government and health professionals who have been working hard to progress this plan."

Chief Executive David Law, The Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust and Mark Carman, project manager for the new proposals, will be at the meeting which takes place in Harpenden Park Hall from 7.30pm.

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