Claims by Govia and Network Rail bosses that they are working very hard to improve services have been slammed by Liberal Democrats as a product of "living in la la land".
Liberal Democrats have asked for an urgent explanation for the staggeringly high ambulance waiting times at Watford General - which are, by a long way, the worst across six counties.
Liberal Democrat County Health spokesperson Chris White said: 'Figures show that more than 1000 working hours were lost while ambulances queued at this hospital - in contrast to just 200 at Luton and Dunstable, itself bad enough.
'Watford General was the worst in the entire region (which includes the six counties of Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Norfolk). In total around one eighth of the delays were at Watford.
'The 1000 hours mean patients waiting in ambulances and not getting treatment. The situation is clearly critical and we need to hear from both the hospital and the ambulance trust why this is happening and what they are doing about it.'
Daisy Cooper, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate campaigning to become the next MP for St Albans, added:
‘St Albans district patients need urgent answers from Watford General's hospital management as to whether staff shortages, additional patient pressures, or Conservative cuts - such as the recently scrapped £8.5 million grant for home care - or something else are to blame for these staggeringly high ambulance waiting times.
‘Front-line NHS staff do an amazing job under difficult circumstances but and may need additional support to help bring these waiting times down. We need to know that there is a plan.’
Former Lib Dem Secretary of State to speak in St Albans
Cllr Ellie Hudspith with St Albans parliamentary candidate Daisy Cooper
Liberal Democrat candidate Ellie Hudspith won the Clarence by-election on 20th October with nearly 60% of the vote on a 3.1% swing from the Conservatives. The resounding victory means that Ellie will become the youngest councillor on St Albans and District Council.
Cllr Ellie Hudspith, who is 24, has lived in St Albans nearly all of her life, having attended Beaumont School. She now works as Policy and Research Officer for CAMRA on Hatfield Road.
Cllr Hudspith said, ‘It’s an honour to have been elected to be councillor for Clarence ward in this by-election. It was great to meet so many local residents on the campaign trail, many of whom were impressed by our record of action in the area and fed up with being taken for granted by the local Tories.
Now elected, I will work closely with my Lib Dem colleagues Cllr Chris White and Cllr Gerard McHale to stand up for Clarence Park and bring an end to parking chaos locally. I also hope my election will inspire more young people to consider getting more involved in local politics and decision making.’
Cllr Chris White, Leader of the Lib Dem group on St Albans and District Council said, ‘‘I am delighted to welcome Ellie to the team. She has been an excellent candidate and I am sure she will be an excellent councillor.
‘The Conservatives pressed us hard in this by-election, having previously taken no interest in the ward. The Lib Dem message of “Service and action all year round, not just at elections” clearly hit home and well over 50% of those who voted backed Ellie and the Clarence Lib Dem team.’
Daisy Cooper, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for St Albans, said, ‘ I am over the moon that Ellie has been elected to be the newest councillor for Clarence ward. I am confident she will make a great councillor.
In Witney, in David Cameron’s backyard, the Liberal Democrats got their biggest swing from the Conservatives in nearly two decades. It’s clear from both these results that the Liberal Democrats will make sure that we are the voice for the 63% of local residents who voted Remain in June and the increasingly number of people who feel deceived by the Brexit campaign and those who are starting to fear for the future.".
St Albans Liberal Democrats have launched a petition calling for the substantial cuts to gritting in Hertfordshire to be reversed. In Hertfordshire, 48km of routes are being cut, including 53 in St Albans and District including key roads in the city centre and roads servicing schools.
If you would like to sign the petition, follow this link
The District Council have finally admitted that it has been let down by the contractor responsible for emptying litter bins.
Local Liberal Democrats have long been concerned by both the clinical and the financial performance of the West Herts Hospital Trust which runs the Watford, Hemel Hempstead and St Albans hospitals. The Trust has a long history financial deficits, a chronic failure to maintain its buildings and, in 2013, a higher than expected standardised mortality indicator.
Last year it was branded as “inadequate” by health watchdog, the Care Quality Commission, and put under “special measures”.
Next month the Trust is due for a follow-up inspection by the Commission. However, even before the inspectors arrive things don’t look good. The Trust is failing to hit the national target for seeing GP referred patients in less than 18 weeks.
Luckily for the Trust, however, they are getting a helping hand towards their coming re-assessment. The local Clinical Commissioning Group has contacted GP practices and asked them as a matter of urgency not to refer patients for 8 major treatment areas to the West Herts Hospital Trust during August, September and October. They should instead refer their patients – other than those needed to be seen urgently or within 2-weeks - to other NHS and independent sector providers.
Local Liberal Democrats are asking three questions:
1. Should our Herts Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (HVCCG) be asking GPs to send NHS patients to independent sector hospitals and clinics?
2. Should they be asking GPs to divert patients away from the Trust like this at all?
3. Isn’t this artificial suppression of demand going to distort the situation in the Trust’s hospitals that the Care Quality Commission is trying to assess objectively?
Lib Dem County Councillor for Tring and the Villages, Nick Hollinghurst said, “We want answers to these questions. I shall be asking HCC’s Health Scrutiny Committee to look into this and ask both the West Herts Trust and the CCG to explain what looks like some rather cynical game-playing!”
Liberal Democrats Town Councillor in Berkhamsted Garrick Stevens said:
“This is an outrageous situation. Not only does it frustrate the work of the Care Quality Commission but it calls into question the willingness and ability of the Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group to impartially commission health services on behalf of the public.”
“This major disruption by the HVCCG to the GP and patient choice of acute services in West Herts raises serious questions on where the HVCCG’s priorities actually lie.”
Liberal Democrat County Health spokesperson Chris White added: 'This is very worrying, especially in the context of the national financial position facing the NHS. I will certainly be raising the issue at the next meeting of the Health Scrutiny Committee.'
Last week, Cllr Chris White went as part of a Local Government Association team to see first-hand the conditions of Calais' "Jungle" refugee camp, and raise awareness of the continued plight of the people living there.