WINCHESTER’S Liberal Democrats have come out against £900m plans for a new hospital in Basingstoke.

Danny Chambers says the new investment should see a the hospital built at the Sir John Moore Barracks in Winchester.

This new stance clashes with that of the Conservative candidate Flick Drummond who supports the NHS plan for a downgrading of the Royal Hampshire County Hospital and a new hospital by Junction 7 at Dummer. Ms Drummond says modern healthcare requires a centralisation of services such as the proposed new hospital

Mr Chambers has sent an open letter about his views to the CEO of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board Maggie MacIsaac and Alex Whitfield, the CEO of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

This comes days before a public consultation on the plans to build a new hospital in Basingstoke and close the A&E department at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital comes to an end on Sunday, March 17.

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In the letter, Mr Chambers calls for the retention of A&E and the consultant-led maternity unit in Winchester and says there have been “very significant and unanticipated changes” since the Basingstoke new site had been proposed.

Hampshire Chronicle: Danny ChambersDanny Chambers (Image: Condtributed)

These included three potential sites for a hospital in Winchester becoming available since the hospital analysis work was completed in 2021 – one of which is Sir John Moore Barracks near Littleton.

Mr Chambers’ letter says: “This site met your suitability criteria as a location of a new hospital but was dismissed because at the time it was ‘not available’. However, we are now aware that the future of this site is still undecided, and it is available.

“The Sir John Moore Barracks site has the added advantage of already being government property – saving the many millions of pounds required to buy new land at Dummer, near Junction 7 of the M3.”

He went on to suggest Bushfield Camp and the Hampshire County Council-owned M3 highways contractor’s compound opposite, which is also publicly owned.

The letter also discussed the plans to rebuild Frimley Park Hospital due to the discovery of faulty concrete RAAC in the building.

SEE ALSO: Hampshire politicians react over plans to close city A&E department

Mr Chambers said: “Although Frimley Park is not one of HHFT’s sites, creating two very similar facilities in such close proximity seems to make little financial or clinical sense, particularly given the emphasis that your proposals place on resolving the current duplication of services”.

The Lib Dem hopefuls’ views on this matter show a sharp difference to those held by his main political rival for the Winchester seat, Flick Drummond MP, who has called for the new hospital to be built at Junction 7 of the M3.

Hampshire Chronicle: Flick DrummondFlick Drummond (Image: Contributed)

In a letter written jointly with Dame Maria Miller, the MP for Basingstoke, Mrs Drummond said: “Thousands of people have already either taken part in the online consultation or attended one of the face-to-face meetings. The documents published alongside the consultation make clear that the status quo simply isn't an option. By building a brand-new hospital we have the perfect opportunity to revolutionise how our health system operates.”

Dr Lara Alloway, Chief Medical Officer, NHS Hampshire & Isle of Wight said: “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest between £700 - £900 million in the future of hospital services in Hampshire.

“We’re grateful for Danny Chambers’ feedback to our public consultation, which we have run over the past 14 weeks. We will be collating and analysing all the feedback we are receiving, and this will be considered as part of the decision-making process.”