HOSPITAL bosses are assuring patients that most people attending the Winchester A&E department will still be able to get the care they need from an urgent treatment centre.

Under the new proposals, currently out to public consultation, between £700m and £900m would be invested into refurbishing the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester and a new specialist acute hospital on the current Basingstoke hospital site or near Junction 7 of the M3.

Although the current Winchester A&E unit would close, a 24/7 'urgent treatment centre' will open and many services will be retained such as same-day emergency care, a planned surgery centre, Florence Portal House birthing unit and outpatients.

READ MORE: NHS to launch consultation over new hospital in Hampshire

Dr Nick Ward, interim chief medical officer at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Under all the options we are currently consulting on, Winchester hospital would have a 24-hour, seven day a week doctor-led urgent treatment centre able to meet people’s urgent care needs, as well as a same day emergency care department. Only the sickest patients, with the most serious conditions, would go to the new hospital’s emergency department, with many taken by ambulance.

“The same day emergency care department would mean that patients who might otherwise be admitted to hospital can be quickly assessed, diagnosed, and treated without being admitted to a ward, and if clinically safe to do so, will go home the same day their care is provided.”

Hampshire Chronicle: The proposal optionsThe proposal options (Image: HHFT)

Dr Lara Alloway, chief medical officer at NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board, said: “We have worked closely with colleagues at South Central Ambulance Service as a key partner in the proposals to ensure that anyone requiring an ambulance can receive the highest quality emergency care, in the most appropriate place for their needs.

“Some services, such as treatment for people having suspected heart attacks, are already provided solely from Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital. Furthermore, under these proposals, patients would experience reduced waiting times for both emergency and urgent care, because bringing services together on one site would enable us to have more consultant cover than we do currently, speeding up diagnosis and treatment for patients.”

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“These proposals would help us to consistently provide better care for people by ensuring we have the right groups of services and specialists located together for when people need them.”

The new urgent treatment centres, which would be led by doctors and provide care 24/7, would treat around 60 per cent of people who currently attend the hospitals’ A&E departments.

Care would include serious but not life-threatening emergencies and injuries, suspected broken bones, cuts, stomach pains, rashes, high temperatures in children and adults and urgent mental health concerns.

The plans have received backlash from concerned residents and politicians who fear the loss of Winchester’s emergency department.