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Proposals to replace three district hospitals with one acute centre in West Hertfordshire have been rejected by health minister John Denham. Mr Denham said accident and emergency services should remain at both Watford General Hospital and Hemel Hempstead Hospital 'for the foreseeable future' and ordered that plans for a greenfield acute site 'should not be pursued further'. But he expressed support 'in principle' for the 'network of care' model for community and primary care and said centralisation of some services could go ahead subject to consultation 'where appropriate or necessary'. Mr Denham also gave the go-ahead to public consultation on the merger of Mount Vernon and Watford Hospitals trust with St Albans and Hemel Hempstead trust . West Hertfordshire health authority gave a 'cautious welcome' to the news.