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:


SPRING FASHION SHOW AT OUI in support of Ovarian Cancer Awareness

More drivers than ever are switching off for cleaner air.