PLANS are underway to build a field hospital in Chineham to help with demand over the coronavirus pandemic, the Gazette can reveal.

Sources say the army is set to build a temporary support hospital with 300 beds to assist Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital.

A spokesman for Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said discussions were ongoing and the public would be kept informed.

In a statement, a spokesman said: “The NHS in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight is working with its partners to ensure we are as prepared as possible for any increase in demand for services, as a result of the current coronavirus pandemic.

“These discussions are ongoing, and we will keep local residents updated as plans are finalised."

So far, NHS England has announced construction of three field hospitals in Manchester, Birmingham and at the ExCel conference centre in east London.

However sources have told the Gazette there are several more in the pipeline across the country, including one in Chineham.

It is understood construction work will begin in upcoming weeks as the NHS plans to increase its capacity to cope with the pandemic. 

Hampshire Hospitals previously told the Gazette is has 76 isolation beds available at Basingstoke. 

Hampshire has been one of the areas hit the hardest by coronavirus.

Until Thursday, the upper tier local authority area - which covers Basingstoke, Winchester, Andover and the New Forest - had the most amount of confirmed Covid-19 cases outside of London.

Basingstoke Gazette: Press Association Press Association

Locally, at least four patients at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital have died of the disease with six deaths recorded at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Last week, the chief scientific officer Patrick Vallence estimated that for every death in a local community could equate to around 1,000 positive cases of Covid.

Using his estimate, this would mean as many as 4,000 people in the North Hampshire area could be suffering from coronavirus.

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