BIG decisions about how a community hospital’s budget is spent are set to be made by local doctors from next April.
Petersfield Community Hospital, in Swan Street, is currently funded by the government via a primary care trust.
But Southern Health, an NHS Foundation Trust, is due to take over the hospital’s running next year.
Then doctors from 28 GP practices from Havant up to Liphook will be given government money to pay for services for the 210,000 people in the hospital’s catchment area.
The Clinical Commissioning Group, as the doctors will be known, will be able to pick and choose who provides the treatments they believe are most needed at Petersfield.
Officials at Southern Health said it was still early days and it is was not yet known exactly how the new financial regime would work.
A spokesman said: ‘Things won’t change immediately from April 1, but over time the services could change as doctors decide what is needed.
‘It may be doctors choose to use a private company to provide the services, in which case we will just rent the hospital to them to use.’
At the moment Southern Health provides treatment at the hospital for minor injuries, physiotherapy, elderly services, community nurses and other day-to-day services.
But health bosses believe more patients will choose to be treated at home in future, meaning less need for beds at Petersfield.
For serious treatments, patients from East Hampshire will be able to choose between Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, the Royal Surrey Hospital in Guildford and Basingstoke Hospital.
Royal Surrey has seen an increase in patients because of the Hindhead tunnel.