LISTED: Hospitals that have closed their doors

The Royal Haslar Hospital

The Royal Haslar Hospital

Seven early signs of dementia

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In the past 50 years, the number of hospitals in Portsmouth and the surrounding areas has dwindled.

Maternity units, psychiatric wards and centres for elderly patients have been replaced by community hospitals, central hubs and super hospitals.

From Royal Hospital Haslar in Gosport, to St Christopher’s in Fareham, a number have been closed with housing now in their place.

Millions of pounds has been spent on creating and improving hospitals such as Fareham Community Hospital and the extension at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.

But for some people, not enough is being done to replace the centres that have been lost.

Leader of Fareham Borough Council councillor Sean Woodward said his area in particular has seen lots of units close.

‘All the hospitals we had were of equal importance and yet we’ve lost them all,’ he says.

‘We do have the community hospital but it is really under-used.

‘I would like to see Fareham Community Hospital extended to care for the elderly, maternity patients and to have a minor injuries unit.’

Campaigners have spent time over the years trying to save their hospitals and one of the biggest efforts was for Royal Hospital Haslar.

The former military unit, on Haslar Road, saw thousands of people join together to keep it.

But despite their efforts, it was closed in 2009 and planning approval has been given for a £100m project for retirement flats built alongside a care home. The plan is just one of many developments which are taking place at the site. Once finished, it will have bars, restaurants, a doctors’ practice, retirement flats, care homes, stores and a church.

Councillor Peter Edgar, who sits on Gosport Borough Council and Hampshire County Council, helped lead the campaign to save Haslar.

He says: ‘If the site stayed open, like we campaigned for, then it could have offered vital care which would have saved the NHS a lot of money.

‘Haslar could have gone straight into the care industry. We fought for 10 years to get the site to stay open and it has been a big part of my life.’

In Portsmouth, one of the biggest sites to shut its doors was the Royal Portsmouth Hospital.

In Commercial Road, where Sainsbury’s now stands, the site was bombed during the Blitz but remained open until 1978 when all services moved to QA Hospital.

As well as the Royal, the city has also seen the services at St James’ in Milton, reduced dramatically.

Portsmouth councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson says for him, smaller hospitals tend to work better.

‘Super hospitals work on paper but not necessarily in person,’ he says.

‘Staff are working so hard but it’s hard to communicate in such a large environment.

‘We have seen so many smaller hospital units close – St James’ has seen a significant reduction in the services it offers. The St Mary’s Hospital site has also reduced hugely in size.

‘I can see why it might be easier to have specialist services in one place but I am not sure how well it works.’

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