Meon Valley MP Flick Drummond has branded as irresponsible her Lib Dem opponent at the forthcoming General Election in Winchester.

She has responded to Danny Chambers' call for a new hospital to be built at Sir John Moore Barracks instead of in or near Basingstoke.

Ms Drummond has accused Mr Chambers of misleading local people as there is no way it can be built at the military base.

The NHS is consulting on plans to spend £800-900 million on a new hospital and downgrade the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester by closing its A&E unit and making the maternity unit midwife-led.

She said Mr Chambers is against safe and modern healthcare simply to exploit a political opportunity.

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Ms Drummond added Sir John Moore Barracks is not one of the new hospital location options as it is too small and he is attempting to "sell a pipe dream it could be built there solely in the hope of votes". 

She wants Mr Chambers to explain how any new hospital would be built in the city when all the sites were looked at years ago and excluded due to a lack of space, land ownership issues or the prohibitive cost of buying land.

“If the healthcare trust was closing the RHCH and forcing people to go to either Southampton or Basingstoke then everyone would be opposed to these plans but that is not the case in any way because there is no closure of Winchester's hospital or any downgrading of healthcare in Winchester and Mid Hampshire, only a huge upgrade,” she said.

“We will have up to £900 million spent on a brand-new hospital just ten minutes up the road that will save lives.

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“The RHCH will have a new 24-hour, doctor-led urgent treatment centre dealing with at least 60 per cent of all the cases the A&E does now. The others will be sent to the new hospital with all the mod cons for the very best treatment. There will be better and safer maternity facilities at the new hospital when needed by mums as well, the experts are very clear about this.

“You must question why anyone would oppose such a huge expansion in the ability to treat people across mid-Hampshire with the very best healthcare. But that’s Lib Dems for you - they oppose everything and have no solutions. 

“And believe me, Sir John Moore Barracks or Bushfield Camp are not options either in the consultation document or in any reality. It is irresponsible to peddle these pipe dreams. I urge everyone to do their own research on what this new hospital means and ignore anything Lib Dem. There’s plenty of information spelling out this is a good thing.

“One of the key issues, completely ignored by Mr Chambers, is how specialised hospital treatment has become. Gone are the days of general hospitals conducting general surgery or treatments. This is why we need a new acute hospital for the population of mid-Hampshire of which Winchester is one important part.

"I would be very interested to hear Mr Chambers' insights into how modern healthcare should be delivered if he believes this new hospital - a once-in-a-generation investment - isn't up to it."

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The MP added: “We need leadership on this most important of issues, not the playing of politics. I know a new hospital serving communities from Basingstoke down into the Meon Valley with state-of-the-art healthcare is best located at junction 7 of the M3. 

“Saying so has nothing to do with chasing votes. It has everything to do with integrity and having a full understanding of the issues at stake.”

The consultation on hospital plans closes on Sunday March 17.

As well as the barracks, due to be vacated by the Army in around 2026, Mr Chambers has suggested Bushfield Camp or the highways contractor's compound on Badger Farm Road.