A PUBLIC consultation over plans for a new hospital in Hampshire could be launched as soon as next January, it has been revealed.

NHS bosses have revealed a time scale for plans for a new hospital in the north of the county.

As previously reported, two sites have been identified. The first is located between Basingstoke and Winchester near to J7 of the M3 while the other option is the current site of Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital.

But before any decision is taken residents will be asked to have their say on the scheme including its location and the services that will be provided.

An official document published by Hampshire County Council has revealed that the public consultation is planned for early 2021.

Speaking at the meeting of the Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee, Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our decision is to take both these sites through the public consultation process that we are hoping to run in January, February and March and understand from the public what they believe would be the pros and cons of each of these sites.”

Councillors were also told that a final decision could be made between next summer and autumn. If the proposals are agreed work would start in 2022 with the hospital set to open between 2026-2030.

The news comes as last year Hampshire Hospitals NHS Trust was named as one of the trusts chosen to receive capital funding as part of a Department of Health and Social Care’s plan aimed at supporting 40 hospital building projects between 2025 and 2030.

The trust said that details, as well as podcast and videos are expected to be released as part of the public consultation while some meetings could be held online.

The trust previously said this includes making “significant investment” at Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester but further details on what this would be are yet to be disclosed.

There are widespread fears that in the long-term it will mean the RHCH losing services such as the A&E department and the consultant-led maternity unit.

NHS managers say the new hospital would create opportunities for the whole area.

Dr James Kerr and Natasha Kerrigan are heavily involved in the Hampshire Together: Modernising our Hospital and Health Services programme – and both of them are hugely excited by the opportunities.

Dr Kerr works in the emergency departments at both Basingstoke and Winchester hospitals and has also been appointed as an associate medical director for Hampshire Together.

He said: “This is a really exciting programme, and I’m very proud to be part of it. The opportunities around building a new centralised hospital and what this means for our patients are incredible.

“For patients, the benefit of a new hospital and a more joined up healthcare system would include shorter waiting times, better communication with healthcare providers, care closer to home, and improved transport links for those who do need to come into hospital. The new hospital would be modern, easy to navigate and have other healthcare services on site for those who need it, including mental health support.”

As the programme director, Dr Kerrigan is responsible for ensuring that the programme delivers for patients, staff and the local community.

She said: “This could be the largest investment in healthcare across north and mid Hampshire to take place in at least a generation – and the opportunities that come with this are really exciting.

“It’s a chance to enhance local NHS services for decades to come, complementing existing services and allowing us to embrace new ideas and innovations – all with our patients at the heart of our thinking.”