Campaigners say a survey shows 'massive support' for a new build hospital - but more than three quarters of the respondents were from Dacorum.

The New Hospital Campaign (NHC) ran the survey between April and June of this year to gauge public opinion on the future of hospital sites in West Hertfordshire.

West Herts Hospital Trust (WHHT) and Herts Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (HVCCG) is currently fighting for £350m investment from central government but a huge bulk of that money will go towards refurbishing Watford General Hospital.

Read more about the hospital options by clicking on this link

However, campaigners continue to battle for a new A&E site which is more central to Watford, St Albans, and Hemel Hempstead - although the NHS groups' preferred four options do no consider this.

In total, 1,515 responded to a survey, with 77 per cent of those from Dacorum, 17 per cent from St Albans and the rest from Watford, Three Rivers, and Hertsmere.

An overwhelming majority of 97 per cent of respondents called for a new A&E hospital on a more central site over a refurbishment of Watford.

In another question, 75 per cent wanted a new planned care and surgery hospital on a central site while in a further question, 90 per cent of people felt patient safety could be compromised during ongoing refurbishment in Watford.

Ninety-six per cent said the trust and clinical commissioning group were not doing enough to consult with the public.

And 75 per cent of the respondents said they had used a WHHT service within the last year.

A large proportion of the new hospital campaigners come from Dacorum - Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning has played a large role in it.

The NHC admits the sample is 'unbalanced' in terms of respondents' locations - the group said it had tried to avoid it but were 'unable to do so' - but it did call on WHHT and HVCCG to undertake surveys of their own.

Read more: Public meeting earlier this month discusses preferred options for NHS groups

In conclusion, the NHC says the results of the survey should give the NHS groups 'pause for thought' regarding the plans for the long term future of hospital provision in our corner of Hertfordshire.

In a joint statement in response to the survey results, WHHT and HVCCG, who will choose their preferred option on July 11, said: "From the wide-ranging engagement that we have carried out in recent months we are aware that there are a number of residents who continue to favour a new centrally located accident and emergency hospital. These survey results therefore come as no surprise.

"We’ve been clear that we must pursue options that will be acceptable to national decision-makers and that fall within the financial threshold set by regulators of £350million, which is based on the trust’s turnover. Our figures show that a new build hospital would cost £650 - £700million, so this isn’t a viable option. However, all of the options we’re considering involve some new build on current sites.

"This is the best chance we’ve had for many years of securing much needed investment in our hospitals and our priority is to put forward a viable case."