Earlier this year, it emerged that Watford had been earmarked as a preferred future site by the programme board. Plans to modernise facilities started after the current site was found to be neglected, short of staff and not fit for purpose in July 2019. Many of the buildings were found to not be in a good state of repair, and concerns were raised regarding the long-term sustainability of the centre.
In a June 2021 stakeholder update, it was revealed that plans to make significant changes are making progress. After considering the feedback from the review, there is an agreement that a new single-site specialist cancer centre at Watford General Hospital would be most appropriate. A plot of land has been provisionally identified at the Watford site, and it is said the cancer centre could be built at the same time as the new Watford General Hospital development. It would be close enough to the new building to enable a corridor or bridge to link the cancer centre with the hospital – which would make transferring patients easier.
The update suggested the plot could be available from 2023. With the new location, there could be new therapies space, a brachytherapy theatre and interventional radiology cancer service and other services. In addition to the new Watford service, there would also be new local access services to other parts of the Mount Vernon catchment area – with both plans estimated to come to £229million. These additional developments will enable people to be treated closer to where they live, and would be useful to people where Watford is out of reach. This includes extended services at Hillingdon Hospital and Northwick Park Hospital – and support in other parts including South Hillingdon and Ealing.
It is understood that proposals are expected to be finalised over the summer, with public consultation of the plans taking place in autumn if funding for the development has been agreed.
For more information about the review, visit: www.mvccreview.nhs.uk
The dates of the next introduction and update events for the review are:
Introduction to the review: Thursday 17th June 2021 at 18.30, Thursday 1st July 2021 at 18.30
Update to the review: Friday 18th June 2021 at 13.00, Tuesday 6th July at 18.30
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receiving or has received from the NHS? Do you want to complain and get things put right? The statutory IHCAS works within the NHS Complaints regulations. IHCAS Advocates can help you to use this process to raise your concerns.
Independent Health Complaints Advocacy is:
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• Answer any questions about the complaints procedure and explain your options
• Provide a step by step guide to the complaints process and some self help tools
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We aim to work with everyone, taking account of their needs. Find out more: IHCAS Leaflet
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Since its launch in 2017, more than half a million people have used their digital service to tackle anxiety, stress, low mood, sleep problems and other concerns. Good Thinking is free for Londoners thanks to the support of the Mayor of London, London Councils, Directors of Public Health and Public Health England. It is delivered by Healthy London Partnership.
Available 24/7 on any device and completely anonymous, Good Thinking provides a range of resources to help Londoners improve their mental wellbeing, including free NHS-approved apps, articles, blogs, podcasts, self-assessments, videos and workbooks. All the apps they recommend are independently assessed and their clinically-validated self-assessment tool is powered by DoctorLink.
“l recently met with the team at NHS England who are leading on this project and I do understand the issues which are at play. There was previously a clinician led review of the site, and they made a number of recommendations for how the cancer centre needs to be running going forward.
The first of these was a change in admissions policy. The reason for this is that far too many patients were being admitted and then later requiring transfer to another site. This admissions policy has now been changed but it does expose some of the other long term problems.
The second recommendation was that the cancer centre needs to be run but a specialist cancer trust and not a genera/ hospital trust. This is now in the process of taking place and from next year the site will no longer be run by East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust and will transfer to UCLH. This will not affect the on the ground staffing as the clinical team will remain the same, it is just a change of management with better specialism.
The final and most significant change is connected to the first point and that is that the Centre needs to be located an acute site. The reason for this is because as populations are getting older, more patients are also living with other illnesses or conditions which require treatment alongside their cancer treatment. Furthermore, when complications that arise from these therapies, patients require acute clinical opinions from other specialties. This cannot be provided for at Mount Vernon and so hence the need a new site.
The NHS have been open about the options this presents. The first option is a complete move to a new acute site and the second is a majority move with a smaller day centre remaining. This second option is obviously the best case scenario from our point of view and is the option I have now been pushing for. At present this is the preferred option within the NHS.
In terms of the move, the emerging option which looks to be most suitable is to have the centre located at Watford. This centre would be a standalone centre, within its own building and would continue to be run by UCLH. However, it would offer an enhanced service from what it is currently able to offer. Some of the sickest patients are currently having to travel into London for because of the limitations of the existing site and facilities.
I will be honest with the fact that the most affected patients are going to be those living in Hillingdon. However, given the size of the Mount Vernon catchment area, and that only 14% of their patients are from Hillingdon we need to be realistic about where the most appropriate site might be. The team on this review have done a lot of research on travel times to all of the possible options and that is why Watford is appearing to be the preferred option. Given all this context, I think the most effective thing to do is to ensure we retain the day centre as has been discussed.
If the move did go ahead, it would be included as part of the new hospital at Watford. These plans are in their early days but I believe this would include a new multi-storey carpark to aid with both the availability and accessibility of carparking there. I also want to stress that while the majority of the services would move to Watford, it would be self contained in its own centre separate from the main General Hospital. We are also hoping for a small day centre to remain at Mount Vernon as well.
I am continuing to follow this all closely and a full public consultation is due to launch in June this year ahead of a final decision being made in October but this is where my thoughts are currently at. “
If you provide care for a family member or friend who could not cope without your support, join the Hillingdon Carers’ Forum online. You can see the information here
The vaccine program continues to be rolled out at pace. Everyone in the first four priority groups (aged 70 or over, or clinically extremely vulnerable) should have now been contacted by the NHS and offered a slot for a jab. If you have received a letter and used the NHS link you will be offered a slot at Wembley. This is because it is our nearest mega vaccination centre.
If travelling to Wembley does not work well for you then please call your GP to see where there is space at one of the many smaller local vaccine centres.
For more information please visit: www.Hillingdon.gov.uk/vaccine
Rates of coronavirus have continued to rise across the country which unfortunately means we begin the year with another national lockdown. Please stay at home – this is the single most important action we can all take to protect our NHS and save lives. You must not leave your home unless necessary and stay two metres apart from anyone not in your household or bubble.
The NHS continues to remain open and so if you have a physical or mental health concern it’s important you continue to get in touch and access our services. Rest assured that attending medical appointments is still deemed as essential travel. If you have an urgent but non life-threatening medical need, you should contact NHS 111 First. We also provide information on accessing your GP during this time.
In this issue, we share an update with you on the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine. We are aware that there is a new scam and people have been receiving suspicious calls and text messages offering the COVID-19 vaccination. Please take note of the things that we will never ask you to do. We encourage you to also continue getting your flu jab during the winter season.
We also share details on a payment scheme that offers support if you can’t work from home should you need to self-isolate.
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Cllr Edwards revealed that Hillingdon will host three of the ten mass vaccination centres planned for the North West London region.
They were listed as the Sir Winston Churchill Hall in Ruislip, and the Compass Centre at Heathrow Airport, which are expected to be up and running by February 1. A third site is yet to be confirmed in Hayes.
Cllr Edwards said eventually the three sites will be able to vaccinate 10,000 people a day.
These centres will add to the existing small vaccination sites running in the Borough – Ruislip Young People’s Centre and the Navnat Centre Hayes.