My column for this week's Herald and Post....
Last week the Integrated Care Board announced that it is seeking views on where a new hospital should be sited in Hampshire. This huge government investment of between £700 million and £900 million will completely transform our local services, and we all stand to benefit.
Two location options have been proposed – on the site of the existing Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital or a brand new site near to junction 7 of the M3. With the M3 option, some outpatient and diagnostic services would be retained at Basingstoke hospital.
As part of the proposals, Winchester Hospital would be refurbished, and would become an 24/7 urgent care centre with a midwife-led maternity unit. A&E services currently provided at both the existing Winchester and Basingstoke hospitals would be centralised at the new hospital.
This would create a ‘blue light’ hub for life or death emergencies (which statistically, and thankfully, many of us would rarely need to use), with urgent care services (which we are more likely to need) provided more locally.
The next layer of care would be provided by community hospitals in the shape of outpatient and day surgery services. This includes the proposed Health Hub at Bordon, which has also been the subject of consultation recently.
I am sure there will be many debates about the location of the new hospital in the months to come - and there will understandably be strong views about the location of A&E services. It is right these get consulted on and considered. For me, what’s important is that Hampshire gets the modern hospital services that it needs.
These proposals are, it’s fair to say, some way off. In the more immediate future, the brand new emergency department at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth should open its doors towards the end of 2024. The ‘topping out’ ceremony of the new building a few weeks ago marked an important milestone in the project. Click here to see the progress that has been made.
The £58 million investment is on course to create something truly state of the art – double the amount of resus bays, and closer proximity of x-rays and scans – all designed with clinicians very much front and centre.
I know for those of you living in and around Petersfield and Liss that this new development is much anticipated.
Finally, as this is my last column before Christmas, may I take this opportunity to wish you all a very merry Christmas full of cheer and goodwill. I hope you all have a wonderful festive season with your loved ones.
And if you are on your own this Christmas, the lovely people of Whitehill are hosting a Christmas lunch in the village hall, with free transport to get you there. Check out my facebook page for more details.