THE trust which runs Winchester hospital has refused to disclose which locations it is considering for a new hospital because it said the information is “commercially sensitive”.

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT), which also runs Andover and Basingstoke hospitals, has used government funding to carry out a ‘land availability study’ for the whole of north and mid Hampshire to create a shortlist of potential locations for a new hospital.

When asked if the trust could share the results of this study with the public, it refused.

The Chronicle previously revealed the six options shortlisted by Hampshire Together: Modernising our Hospitals and Health Services, which will be consulted on early next year, on how to spend government funding to build a new hospital.

However, meeting papers for HHFT showed that it had already selected a ‘preferred option’ prior to the public consultation.

The trust has been asked which option is its preferred choice, but has not received an answer.

Instead, a spokesperson for the trust referred to a “potential” new hospital, and said decisions will be made in partnership with clinical commissioning groups across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, despite the funding being allocated to HHFT.

They added: “Any significant investment of public money needs to satisfy robust processes set out by HM Treasury to ensure best value. Part of this process has required doctors, nurses, other clinicians, patients and local stakeholders to select a proposed shortlist of options, as well as an indicative preferred way forward, in terms of the way services are provided.

“Further work is now being undertaken to review options in detail, making sure that services meet patients’ needs, do not require unsustainable levels of staffing, are affordable and can be delivered from fit-for-purpose buildings.

“A shortlist of options will be published in advance of formal public consultation, which is currently scheduled to take place in the early part of 2021. Consultation is an opportunity for us to test proposals for change with our local population and patients and to understand their views of the options being consulted on. It is also an opportunity to find out if there is any additional evidence or insight that could influence our thinking, and to see if there are any alternative proposals that would address the challenges we face.”

Five of the six options put up for consultation involve a brand-new hospital and a main satellite facility, with the sixth option seeing services reconfigured in the current premises.

So far, the trust has spent £982,533 on the project, which was given by the Department of Health and Social Care.

The trust said the money has been used for various things including looking at population growth and future demand for health services; carrying out an impact assessment; conducting a land availability study for the whole of north and mid Hampshire to “identify and shortlist potential site options; and holding public and staff engagement events.