New Hampshire hospital set to be built by 2030 - but councillors fear tight financial squeeze

PLANS for a new hospital in Hampshire could be hindered by a lack of government support, politicians fear.

Tuesday, 5th July 2022, 3:07 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th July 2022, 3:07 pm

The Hampshire Together partnership is aiming to build a new hospital in north Hampshire, opening its doors by 2030.

It comes as part of a national drive to build 48 more hospitals across the country.

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The new hospital will need plenty of government funding. Picture: Habibur Rahman

But as inflation continues to bite and government funding for various schemes dries up, some councillors are worried that Hampshire's new hospital might suffer the same fate.

They fear the hospital might end up smaller than hoped, but the NHS trust chief executive promises it will be an upgrade on the current service

The new hospital will either replace the current Basingstoke one or be built off Junction 7 of the M3.

Regardless, Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital will be closed down, as upkeep of the old buildings is not financially sustainable.

Liberal Democrat spokesman for health and social care, Cllr David Harrison, said: 'I see a world where public finances have collapsed due to Covid, plus raging inflation rates, and would suspect that the biggest risk to this project is the fact the government won't fund this the way we would hope.'

Dr Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT), said: 'Councillors and MPs always doubt that things will get over the finish line.

'We have received continuous assurance from the Department of Heath that the necessary funding will be available.

'Being a brand new hospital, this is a particularly exciting prospect for the government, so there's lots about the Hampshire project to be optimistic about.'

The new hospital would care for more than 600,000 Hampshire residents, providing acute care and centralising niche services provided in Basingstoke, Winchester and Andover.

Alongside HHFT, clinical commissioning groups, local authorities and universities are working on the hospital project.

A business plan is in the works and a public consultation is due to take place next year.

Dr Whitfield added: 'I understand that some people in Basingstoke worry that this new hospital will be smaller than what they have now - but it won't be.

'This is going to be a far bigger hospital and there's a barrage of options for us to explore.

'As far as which services would be provided, that will be a matter for the public consultation.'