A NEW unit has been opened at Basingstoke hospital to help ease pressure on hospital services in the busy winter period.

The Overton Unit, which is situated to the rear of the Sherborne Building at the hospital, contains 28 beds of which 24 provide care for patients who no longer require acute care provided in hospital, but are awaiting a care package to enable them to return home.

The other four beds, housed in individual side rooms, are set aside for patients coming to the end of their lives and require specialist palliative care.

Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, Royal Hampshire County Hospital, in Winchester, and Andover War Memorial Hospital, said: “Opening this new unit will enable us to release space on the acute care wards for very sick patients when they need to be admitted to hospital."

“We will continue to experience increased pressure on our hospital services due to high numbers of very sick people needing to be admitted over the course of the winter period. Opening the Overton Unit is one of the measures we have put in place to help us manage the challenges we expect to face.

“I’d like to say a big thank you and well done to all of the staff who have worked hard to ensure that the unit is open in time for this busy period."