I am a big fan of plans for a new £900 million hospital at junction 7 of the M3 that will offer state-of-the-art, expert healthcare for Winchester and much of the Meon Valley.

It must be at that location - the preferred option - and not in Basingstoke, and this is something I am making the case for.

The fact is both the RHCH and to some extent the North Hampshire Hospital are not fit for purpose.

Gone are the days when small or medium sized towns or cities could have a district general hospital able to offer good care in all disciplines. The sheer complexity of what can be done today needs purpose-built centres of excellence able to treat people with the best equipment in the best surroundings.

This is how modern medical services should be delivered. I think there is certainly a case for this to be better explained by the NHS and politicians.

I met two consultants at the weekend who are desperate for leadership on this issue and I am more than happy to give it. They too feel what we have now is not good enough and that the government investing so much money in a brand-new hospital is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to be grasped.

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This new hospital will have single en suite rooms for all patients. I watched an elderly relative die at RHCH in a ward of six – many of them young men with broken bones who had to listen. There was just a curtain, nothing else. It took seven hours for him to die. That situation was not the fault of the staff, it was the fault of an outdated building. It was awful.

And the issue of A&E moving from RHCH is not the problem some want to make it. Much of its work is minor injuries and that will stay. I can say now that those who have had a stroke or heart attack should be treated at either Southampton or Basingstoke. It’s a case of making sure the best care is available for everyone and not a case of what is a convenient location for some. And talking of location, unless you are lucky enough to live within a few minutes’ walk of the RHCH or on a bus route then there is little convenient about it. Most people need to give themselves 30 minutes extra to try and find a parking space. Even those coming from parts of the Meon Valley would be at junction 7 in the same space of time they must allocate to find somewhere to park at RHCH and without the stress of having to do so. Of course, the new hospital will have public transport links and ample parking.

This is all about keeping people alive and having expert care readily available. A new hospital will attract more staff too who will want to work somewhere purpose built.

The RHCH is a huge part of Winchester. I understand that. It has a future in the NHS but it is not fit to deliver 21st century medicine in many cases. Only a new hospital can deliver the healthcare we need and deserve. There is a lot of unhelpful talk of the RHCH being downgraded and services will leave.

This fails to grasp the reality that it must be downgraded and services must leave if we are to have better healthcare overall.

Flick Drummond,

MP for Meon Valley