CONFUSION surrounds plans for a new emergency hospital in north Hampshire.

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Basingstoke, Winchester and Andover hospitals, had previously announced plans to build a 300-bed critical treatment hospital between Basingstoke and Winchester, on the same site as a state-of-the-art cancer treatment centre.

Now a new option – which could mean a dramatic expansion of Basingstoke hospital – has been put on the table by hospital bosses.

Previously, The Gazette had been told that the proposed critical treatment hospital could cost around £70million, was likely to be built in the patch of land between the A303, A34 and the M3 for ease of access, and that it would treat around 75,000 patients each year.

It would treat patients in a critical or life-threatening condition, with staff dealing with major trauma injuries, heart attacks, strokes and other emergencies.

Around 10 per cent of the 300 beds would be intensive care beds, and there would be eight theatres, including specialist operating theatres such as a heart theatre and stroke theatre.

The hospital would have specialist Emergency Department consultants, CT and MRI scanners running around the clock, and would have a helipad on site for air ambulances.

But the possibility of scrapping plans for the emergency hospital is mooted in an appendix to the agenda of the Hampshire Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee, which will discuss both options next Tuesday.

On Wednesday, January 22, a hospital spokeswoman said she could not comment on what form the plans would take, and said various options would have to be considered following a consultation.

The Gazette understands that regardless of where the centre is built, the services and facilities will be the same – meaning that a huge expansion of Basingstoke hospital, which has 450 beds, is a possibility.

The trust will now carry out a detailed analysis of the two options, including the impact on clinical services and their quality, the projected activity required, the necessary service capacity and workforce to meet that activity and a full financial evaluation.

Mary Edwards, chief executive of HHFT, said: “To make sure we can offer consultant care 24 hours a day, seven days a week for those most at risk, we need to centralise these parts of our service.

“While we know we have to centralise some services, we also want to provide other services locally to reduce travelling time for people in Alton, Andover and Eastleigh.”

She added: “We also want to invest in our hospitals in Basingstoke and Winchester where the majority of patients will be treated.”