HAMPSHIRE health bosses have clubbed together to promote their plans to merge some hospital services.

The NHS in Hampshire is proposing an up to £900m investment to improve healthcare for people living in the county.

Under the proposals, the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester would be refurbished and an urgent treatment centre would replace the A&E. In Basingstoke, a new specialist acute hospital, including urgent and emergency care, on the current Basingstoke hospital site or near Junction 7 of the M3 would be built.

The plans have received backlash with patients commending Winchester’s A&E and therefore questioning why it needs to be changed.

READ MORE: Winchester residents to have their say on new hospital proposals

Clinicians from Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board (ICB) are sharing why they believe the multi-million pound plans would better benefit patients.

Dr Lara Alloway, Chief medical officer of Hampshire ICB, Dr Nick Ward, interim chief medical officer of HHFT, Dr Dominic Kelly, consultant cardiologist, Dr Matt Nisbet, board partner member for primary care at Hampshire ICB, Dr Charlotte Hutchings, clinical director at Hampshire ICB, Miss Avideah Nejad, consultant obstetrician specialising in Maternal Fetal Medicine and clinical director for Women’s Health Services and Mrs Andrea Burgess,
ear, nose, and throat consultant and medical director of clinical strategy at the trust have written an open letter on why some hospital services should be brought together.

Hampshire Chronicle: The three options for the new specialist acute hospitalThe three options for the new specialist acute hospital (Image: HHFT)

The letter reads: “The proposals are based on clinical evidence, best practice and years of combined clinical experience. We have created them to deliver safe, high-quality services, which are sustainable for the future, with sufficient specialist staff to run services well.

“Some emergency services, such as for strokes, heart attacks, and major accidents are already only provided from one of our hospital sites. Bringing together more specialist services for the most seriously ill patients onto one site would mean we can bring services in line with best practice and national guidelines.

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“This means if you are critically unwell, you will be seen by experienced senior doctors and nurses who are experts in their field. This would have significant benefits for patients, both in terms of improvements to their care and their clinical outcomes.

“New and refurbished buildings will help us provide modern healthcare, make better use of new technology and reduce our environmental impact.

“Having a separate planned surgery centre in Winchester, with dedicated surgical staff for lower risk planned surgery and procedures (which account for around 80 per cent of cases), would also reduce the number that are cancelled at short notice.

“The urgent treatment centres would see and treat around 60 per cent of people who currently attend the hospitals’ emergency departments. Visits to the UTC will be quicker and more efficient with patients seen by experienced clinicians. Only the sickest patients, with the most serious conditions, would go to the new hospital’s emergency department, most often taken by ambulance.

“The new midwife-led birthing units at both hospitals and a birthing unit led by obstetricians at the specialist acute hospital would mean we have consultants on site for more hours, giving people safer care.

“Having one neonatal unit, instead of trying to staff two units, would mean we could bring our specialist staff together. The unit would see a high enough number of babies each year to look after those with more serious health problems.

“A dedicated children’s service would include a separate children’s emergency department for the first time, giving children and their families an improved experience.

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“We would also create step-up and step-down hospital beds to care for people who need medical, nursing, physiotherapy or other support. This will help people to get back home as soon as possible and free up specialist beds for the most acutely unwell patients.

“A cancer treatment centre would provide chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and supportive care from a multidisciplinary team and we will continue to provide cancer outpatient services and some chemotherapy locally.

“Importantly, most daily hospital visits will continue to be provided at Winchester hospital and at the current Basingstoke hospital site, as well Andover, Alton and other locations close to people’s homes.”

A public consultation on the changes is open until midnight on March 17. For more go to hampshiretogether.nhs.uk.