A PETITION to protect Winchester’s Accident and Emergency department is nearing its target.

The petition has so far achieved 7,324 names as it approaches its goal of 8,000.

The movement follows the announcement in 2020 that a new Hampshire hospital may be built near Basingstoke, sparking fears of closure of the A&E unit at the Royal County Hampshire Hospital.

The online campaign, published by Mrs Winchester is titled Stop the removal of Winchester Emergency Dept or build the new hospital here.

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The petition reads: “There is major concern from the residents of Winchester that the emergency department will be removed, with the added worry of the air ambulance service’s lack of funding and the time it takes for an ambulance to arrive being so long, some residents reporting up to 8hrs.

“In addition and contrast to Basingstoke; Winchester has many hundreds of thousands of tourist each year (400,000 to the Christmas market alone ) and a large number of students. This combined far exceeds Basingstoke’s population and therefore requires at a minimum that a 24/7 accident department should remain In Winchester and be invested in.

“The residents hereby petition to keep the 24/7 accident and emergency department in place at a bare minimum.”

After reaching 5,000 signatures over a year ago, campaigners are looking for the last few hundred to get behind the cause.

Violet B commented on the petition: “I am a student at the university and suffer from chronic illness and multiple medical conditions and therefore use the emergency department at this hospital regularly. I am fortunate enough to live opposite it and rely on its services greatly and to it have moved would have such a negative impact on me. This hospital's A&E department is a lifeline for me.”

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Jane G commented: “Closing this emergency service will endanger lives.”

The new Basingstoke hospital would be part of a £3.7Nn government funding package.

Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust (HHFT), said last year that it is hoped the new hospital will be built by 2028.

Currently, two locations have been shortlisted for the ‘new hospital’ – the current site of Basingstoke hospital, and land off Junction 7 of the M3 but any formal plans are yet to be implemented.

To access the online petition, go to: 38degrees.org.uk/petitions.


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