Health News & updates



Where would you like a new


Hemel Hempstead OR Watford?

West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust has already

decided that Watford is the best location

and work is already underway expanding

the existing hospital into a much bigger unit.

Hemel Hempstead MP Sir Mike Penning

disagrees saying the whole of West Herts

would benefit from a truly new hospital on

a clear site in the Hemel area to fulfil the

Government’s promise in 2019...for

instance good access for everyone,

cheaper, speedy construction and a

greener environment.

Mike Penning MP led a delegation

recently to meet with Health Secretary Sajid Javid to look into a decision to block a new hospital on a central site in west Herts. This announcement follows a meeting with an expert delegation highlighting issues with West Hertfordshire NHS Trust’s choice of Watford General for a redeveloped acute hospital.

“We will be sending Sajid a dossier of information detailing how public spending rules have been bent in making the case for Watford General. The dossier will also show the opportunities for building in a sustainable way on one of a number of potential greenfield sites which would offer good access and a great environment for everyone in west Hertfordshire. We hope he will ask the Department of Health and the trust to look again at their decision.” 

Sajid Javid MP, Health Secretary will now ask the Trust how they came to make their decision to rule out a new site in 2020.

Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor responded to the news that the Health Secretary is looking at the redevelopment plans, he said: "I am appalled by this decision, which ignores the incredibly thorough process that has already been undertaken by independent experts in this area. There have already been several investigations into viability and they have all reached the same conclusion – that the quickest and best way to improve health facilities for West Hertfordshire is to invest in new and improved hospital facilities at Watford General, St Albans City* and Hemel Hempstead* Hospitals.

“Local people have waited a very long time for these vital new facilities. This decision will only slow the process down, yet again, and could threaten this investment entirely. It is time to allow the Trust to get on with their plans and deliver better hospital facilities now for all of us.”

Philip Aylett, co-ordinator of the local New Hospital Campaign (NHC) who attended the meeting with Mike Penning said: “The trust refused, on very shaky evidence, to carry out a proper economic appraisal of any new clear site in 2020. The trust failed to follow public spending rules and the costs and timings of the project are now out of control."

A spokesperson for West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust said: “We’re very happy to share our rationale for ruling out a new site in favour of retaining and redeveloping our three hospitals. Our decision was driven by the need to deliver new and better buildings in the shortest timeframe possible."

*Expansion of St Albans Hospital and the existing Hemel Hospital are planned to be relatively small scale.

Photo below, courtesy Sir Mike Penning’s office

Successful Memory Lane Dementia Café appeals for more volunteers

Harpenden Town Council re-launched the “Memory Lane Café”, through a partnership with The Salvation Army and The Harpenden Trust’s Wellbeing Hub, in January this year and is delighted that so many people living with dementia have already benefitted. Indeed the café has been such a success that they are now appealing for more volunteers.

The Café, in Harpenden, is a place for anyone living with dementia and their loved ones to enjoy a cup of tea and a piece of cake in an understanding, relaxed environment. It is open every Monday (except bank holidays) from 2-3.30pm at The Salvation Army on Leyton Green in Harpenden.

The partnership is currently seeking more volunteers from the community who would be happy to give up a few hours each month to help with refreshments and offer friendly conversation, additionally there is also an opportunity to help with organisation of the café. If you can help, please contact Sarah Brimley at Harpenden Town Council by calling 01582 768278 or emailing

MARCH 2022.

Did you know that the UK has the highest death rate for lung conditions in western Europe with more than 100,000 people in the UK dying from conditions including asthma attacks, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia every year, according to data analysis by the charity Asthma and Lung UK.

Sarah Woolnough, the chief executive of Asthma and Lung UK, urged Government ministers to triple funding for respiratory research to identify new ways of diagnosing and treating people with lung conditions, tackle air pollution and ensure better diagnosis and care for everyone with a lung condition.

She added: “The state of lung health in the UK is shameful, with more than 100,000 people dying every year from lung conditions, the numbers of hospital admissions increasing, and air pollution causing people to develop lung conditions or making existing ones worse.

“It is a national scandal that people are more likely to die from a lung condition in the UK than almost anywhere in Europe. We need urgent action now. The pandemic has brought it to people’s attention that lung conditions can and do kill and how terrifying it can be to struggle with breathlessness.”

Luton Airport expansion will add considerably more air pollutants to the local atmosphere if their proposals are granted.


Feeling frazzled?

Frazzled Cafe (a space for people who

might be feeling “frazzled” to talk and

share their stories, while meeting

others in a safe, supportive - and non

judgemental - environment) is

launching in Harpenden. It’s an

initiative started by Ruby Wax,

which began as a drop in at M&S

cafes in London. Now, thanks to

funding from the Harpenden Trust,

we have been able to set one up

with fully trained and qualified

facilitators in Harpenden. 

The cafe sessions are on Mondays (from 7.30pm - 8.45pm at the Eric Morecambe Centre).  It takes place in the Foyer area.

Christina and Sarah (above right) are the two facilitators.

The link to sign up is


Turning Harpenden teal in March to support Ovarian Cancer Awareness

* Fashion events held by Fiona at Oui on 17th March with money raised from the raffle going to the charity 

* The Baker, Simmons, is selling teal cup cakes for one week starting Tuesday 15th March with £1 from every donation going to the charity

* Saturday 19th March, I have a stall on the High Street. I will be selling teal cup cakes donated by Simmons and my friend will be selling her awareness tote bags

* Sunday 20th & Monday 21st March, 56 houses in Alzey Gardens are turning teal 

* Harpenden Hopper Bus is decorated with bunting and posters, so we have awareness on wheels!

* Stands at Harpenden Leisure Centre and the Co-op Southdown, raising awareness and funds

* Held a talk at the Herts Federation of WI

* Set up a Just Giving Page:

* A range of organisations have teal decorations or displays including: Allsopp, Ashtons, Threads, Rebecca Jade, Jolie Nails, St. Nicholas Church, St. John’s Church, Elms Medical Practice, Lyndhurst Financial Management and Oui. Others are displaying the symptoms leaflet.

On Instagram and Twitter, Catherine Hunt is Ovarian Cancer Girl, where you can see an overview of my activity and below:

My name is Catherine, a resident of Alzey Gardens and I’m campaigning to raise awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer.

I was diagnosed with Stage 3A ovarian cancer in April 2019 and I have been supported by the Charity, Target Ovarian Cancer.

This year raising awareness of the symptoms is particularly important following the sharp drop in the number of women contacting their GP because of the coronavirus pandemic.

March is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Teal is the colour that represents ovarian cancer.


My objective is to ensure that everyone in our home town of Harpenden is aware of the symptoms of ovarian cancer and I hope to ‘TURN THE TOWN TEAL’ for a week in March 2022. I am in contact with the Town Council and local businesses to organise awareness events, but I hope to start closer to home. It would be wonderful to turn Alzey Gardens teal. Will you join me?

Display a bunch of 3 teal balloons outside the front of your home on Sunday 20 March & Monday 21 March

Display an A4 symptoms poster in your front window

Donate £5.00 to cover costs. Any excess will be given to the charity.

I will deliver the balloons on Sunday 20 March. Please ensure the balloons are tied securely to your property and I can collect and dispose of the balloons, if you prefer. What a conversation starter; a street full of balloons, decorations and bunting to get people talking!

I will promote the activity on social media and will notify the local press. Let’s show the rest of Harpenden that Alzey Gardens is a great place to live with supportive neighbours.

I will be knocking on your door over the next few weeks to establish the level of support.


11 women die every day from ovarian cancer

I’m passionate to spread the word about the symptoms of ovarian cancer and encourage women to contact their GP if they are worried. If women learn about the symptoms, they can feel confident about contacting their GP and to have an informed conversation. The pandemic risks making the situation worse as some women may delay for fear of overburdening the NHS. Early diagnosis saves lives.



The symptoms of ovarian cancer are:

• Persistent bloating (not bloating that comes and goes)

• Feeling full quickly and/or loss of appetite

• Pelvic or abdominal pain

• Urinary symptoms (needing to wee more urgently or more often than usual)

• Other symptoms can include unexpected weight loss, a change in bowel habits or extreme fatigue.  

Anyone experiencing these symptoms, and they are persistent and not normal for them, should contact their GP.


I was working long hours in the City of London. With a daily

commute, busy lifestyle plus regularly visiting my sick mum,

I was suffering with extreme fatigue. But, like many women,

I ignored this and continued on. Then getting ready for a night

out, I felt a painful lump in my abdomen. This was in fact a

tumour. During the initial diagnosis stage, my right leg

bloated due to DVT and a clot on my lung was also discovered.

Following surgery to drain my kidneys, the removal of the

tumour and a total abdominal hysterectomy, I received

chemotherapy at Lister Hospital. The cancer had spread to

my bowels and the surgery resulted in a stoma, an opening

on the abdomen that diverts body waste into a pouch on my

body. I have recently undergone two reconstructive surgeries i

ncluding a stoma reversal. There is currently no evidence of

the disease, but I remain under the care of the Oncology

team at Lister Hospital.


Target Ovarian Cancer is the UK’s leading ovarian cancer charity. They work to improve early diagnosis, fund life-saving research and provide much-needed support to women with ovarian cancer. They campaign to bring about change to the lives of everyone affected by ovarian cancer and have been at the forefront of early diagnosis for over a decade. Since 2008, they have funded over £1.5m in gold-standard research projects across the UK.


I have also set up a Just Giving Page:


More drivers than ever are switching off for cleaner air. ARE YOU AN IDLER?

JULY 1st marks a momentous day for health and care in Hertfordshire and west Essex.

Welcome from our new organisation

We are delighted to introduce to you our new organisation, the Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care Board (ICB).

We are the new NHS body responsible for planning and overseeing health services in Hertfordshire and the Harlow, Epping and Uttlesford districts of Essex. The ICB has taken over the functions of Herts Valleys, East and North Hertfordshire and West Essex Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), which formally closed yesterday (30 June).

It's our organisation’s responsibility to make sure health services effectively meet everyone's needs to improve care and health, and take responsibility for spending NHS money wisely. You can learn more about what we do on our new website.

Today is also the launch of the Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care Partnership (ICP), which brings together Hertfordshire and Essex County Councils - the organisations responsible for social care in our area - with the NHS, and a range of public and voluntary sector organisations.

The work of the Essex and Hertfordshire Health and Wellbeing Boards, the insight of the ICP’s member organisations, and input from people and communities will inform a new integrated care strategy, which will be drawn together by the ICP later this year. This strategy will in turn shape the work of our ICB.

We are committed to working together to improve health and care for our 1.5 million residents in the Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care System (ICS). You can read more about the Integrated Care System also on it's new website, where you'll also find more information about the Integrated Care Partnership.

To help mark this momentous day for health and care in Hertfordshire and west Essex, we're delighted to share this first e-newsletter with you, which you have received as a former subscriber to one of the three former clinical commissioning groups’ newsletters.

Through a weekly newsletter, you'll get the latest news from our organisation and our Integrated Care System. We'll let you know of opportunities to get involved as well as local initiatives you may be interested to hear more about, alongside campaigns from nearby and nationally. If you are on social media, follow our Facebook and Twitter accounts for daily posts and latest updates.

The Lea Primary School and Nursery in Harpenden was awarded the accreditation in June this year for their whole-school approach to improving mental health and emotional wellbeing.

The first in Harpenden, St Albans and the villages to receive the kitemark for Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Awareness, by Healthy Young Minds in Hertfordshire (HYMIH).

The HYMIH kitemark accreditation is awarded for a school’s contribution to supporting mental health and wellbeing by completing a self-reflective document containing 11 key areas:

••ethos and environment, 


•teaching learning and resilience, 

•connections and connectedness, 

•student voice, 

•staff wellbeing and development, 

•identifying need, 

•monitoring impact, 

•working with parents and carers, 

•targeted support and leadership,


This document is then reviewed and discussed in a multi-agency panel, which consists of representatives from Public Health, Public Health Nursing service, Educational Psychologist, Herts for Learning, Primary, Secondary, Specialist schools and the Strategic Leads for Mental Health in Schools.

For a school to be awarded with the Healthy Young Minds in Hertfordshire kitemark they need to demonstrate reflective practice with clear actions on how to develop their good practice and have a clear plan about how to mitigate any gaps.

Headteacher James Berry said: “We know that physical health and mental wellbeing are interlinked, and we put great emphasis on teaching so that pupils understand that good physical health contributes to good mental wellbeing, and vice versa.  We are really proud of this accreditation as it validates our school ethos of Learn, Enjoy, Achieve and the importance we put on our pupil’s mental health.”

Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator, Sally Davey, said: “All elements of our school curriculum are designed around nurturing individuals and ensuring that all children understand the characteristics of good physical health and mental wellbeing.  The process of gaining this accreditation has been hugely beneficial as it has enabled us to consolidate that learning and really put it into practice.”

The Lea is located in a quiet area on the north-east edge of Harpenden.  We are a welcoming one form entry school for boys and girls aged between three and eleven years.  We were rated Good by Ofsted in February 2018.

Based on the last recorded SATs results (2019), The Lea Primary School and Nursery was the highest attaining primary school in Harpenden and in the top 3% of all primary schools in the country.

The Lea Primary School and Nursery’s vision is to be at the forefront of high-quality education and to give our children the best possible start to their learning journey

For more information, please contact Mr James Berry.

Moorland Road, Harpenden, Hertfordshire AL5 4LE

01582 767 939

About the Healthy Young Minds in Hertfordshire Mental Health Kitemark

More information on the accreditation can be found on the Herts Local Offer website:

About Stormbreak

Stormbreak aims to improve children’s mental health through movement, equipping them with sustainable, transferable skills and coping strategies to thrive during the complex demands of growth into adult life.  They help schools understand and embed movement for mental health every day for every child. (see images below)

Are you interested in the plans West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust (WHHT) have to redevelop local sites?

The Trust is inviting residents to

a briefing session and walkabout

of its hospitals in Hemel

Hempstead and St Albans.

The aim is to bring

the redevelopment plans for the

hospitals to life.

During the sessions, a senior clinician

and a member of WHHT's

redevelopment team will explain the role of the hospitals, new ways care will be provided, plans for upgrading diagnostic facilities and how the latest digital technology will be incorporated into the buildings and services.

There will also be an update on the outline planning applications submitted by WHHT for new and refurbished buildings at the two sites, followed by a tour to understand these plans further.

The in-person events for the two sites are as follows:

Hemel Hempstead Hospital: 1.30pm - 4.30pm, Monday 15 August

St Albans City Hospital: 1.30pm - 4.30pm, Thursday 18 August

Please email WHHT's redevelopment team  by Monday 8 August to let them if you would like to attend one, or both, of the events. You will only be able to attend once your email has been received and attendance confirmed by the Trust.