RATHER belatedly NHS bosses have moved to reassure the public over major changes to the provision of accident and emergency care in central Hampshire.

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is consulting the public on building a new £700-900m acute hospital in Basingstoke and essentially downgrading the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester. The A&E unit would close to be replaced by an ‘urgent treatment centre’. It would be doctor-led and treat most of the people, the trust says 60 per cent, who would have used the A&E unit. Only the sickest will go to Basingstoke where specialist support would be on hand.

READ MORE HERE: 'Urgent Treatment Centre' to replace A&E in Winchester

Quite why it has taken the trust several weeks to specifically address this aspect of the proposed changes is a mystery. It should have been clear from the outset that this change at the RHCH would have been in the forefront of public concerns. Perhaps the trust thought that by ignoring it it would be go away. It won’t go away. Concerns will only deepen as more people become aware of the proposed changes. The trust needs to continually explain its reasoning if it has any hope of stopping a public campaign to save the A&E unit.