Page11 - Health News

Cancer Services

The Hertfordshire Primary Care Trusts continue their review of cancer services. Their interim report confirmed that the Cancer Centre should remain at Mount Vernon for the long term, and a new partner institution for academic research has been identitied. A public consultation on the proposals arising from the review is planned for this Autumn, but not before November.

Urgent Care Centres

The Hemel Hempstead Urgent Care Centre was opened in October last year. It is open 24 hours, 7 days a week, and in the first ten months treated over 21,200 people. Eight Urgent Care Centres are planned for Hertfordshire, to be introduced on a phased basis. One for St. Albans is scheduled to open in 2010 and one at Watford Hospital will follow.


Over the Summer, the media have been full of the swine flu pandemic. However, the number of swine flu cases is steadily declining and the flu is mild in the majority of cases.The East of England Strategic Health Authority's web-site gives regular reports on the number of cases in the region. At the time of writing, the latest figures are for 3rd September.

These are based on the "unique reference numbers" (URN) issued by the anti-viral collection points. URNs are the numbers of confirmed applications for anti-virals. Over the previous week the number for West Herts was 331, and 136 anti- virals were collected. There have been four deaths of East of England residents. Two of these occurred outside the region.

The NHS continues to anticipate a second wave of flu in the Autumn, though their expected numbers of hospitalised cases has been revised down.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

The Hertfordshire Primary Care Trusts have been commissioning a West Herts community service for COPD patients i.e those with
breathing problems. The new service is scheduled to become operational in mid-November. 


Travellink provides transport information and makes travel bookings for patients needing the County's health services. It is run by Herts County Council and the local health trusts. Based at Stevenage, it will take calls from 8.00am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday. Travellink can also provide advice to people on low incomes on how to reclaim costs using the Healthcare Travel Cost Scheme. Travellink is the single point of contact for all non-emergency patient transport arrangements. The telephone number is: 01438 737505.