A NEW hospital will not be built in Winchester as health chiefs reveal shortlisted locations for the major development – the nearest being 13 miles away.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed earlier this month that funding would be given for a new hospital in Basingstoke, but now Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have cemented that statement being revealing that both sites identified are close to Basingstoke.

It knocks any hopes that the Royal Hampshire County Hospital (RHCH) will retain its current range of services, including an A&E unit and the consultant-led maternity unit at Florence Portal House.

Work to identify potential sites for a new acute centralised hospital has been ongoing since October 2019, with a search across Winchester, Basingstoke, Andover, Eastleigh, Alton and surrounding areas carried out.

Now hospital chiefs have shortlisted to locations, the first between Basingstoke and Winchester, near to junction seven of the M3, with the other being based on the current site of Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital.

Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which leads the Hampshire Together programme alongside Hampshire and Isle of Wight Partnership of Clinical Commissioning Groups and West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “After an exhaustive site selection process, I’m delighted that we have two site options for a possible new acute centralised hospital to serve mid and north Hampshire.

“Whilst we have identified two possible sites, no final decisions have been taken and we look forward to talking to our staff and the public about our proposals for the future when we go out to public consultation early next year. We are looking forward to discussing the pros and cons of each of the possible locations as part of the formal consultation process.

Hampshire Chronicle:

Alex Whitfield

“But this is not just about a building, we are using this as an opportunity to think about how we provide health services which will meet the needs of our population for decades to come. We have already announced six potential clinical service options and further work is underway to develop a shortlist for consultation, where service and site options come together.

“As well as the location of any new hospital, we are also looking forward to speaking to staff, patients and the public about the way we propose to work together to deliver health, wellbeing and care services in the future.

“This includes making significant investment at Royal Hampshire County Hospital, in Winchester, as well as exploring opportunities to provide additional services in other locations across north and mid Hampshire, giving all of our patients access to high-quality, timely and sustainable health care as close to home as possible.”

No further details have been given in terms of timeframe for this work to be carried out or what a 'major refurbishment' at the RHCH would entail.

Hampshire Chronicle:

MP for Winchester Steve Brine said: “That this is about replacing Basingstoke Hospital is the worst kept secret of them all. It will certainly serve the population of north Hampshire but it would be a place people from Winchester and Chandler’s Ford have to travel to for most acute services.

“I repeat my call on the clinicians driving this not to give up on the Royal Hampshire County and to now be crystal clear what we gain and what we lose in Winchester.”

Pieces of land that were large enough to house a hospital and health campus were then ranked according to how they performed against a total of 36 weighted criteria before negotiations began to assess their availability, price and the current owners’ willingness to sell.

Nine sites initially fitted the criteria including Winchester, Micheldever, Sutton Scotney, Andover and Basingstoke.