A new hospital to serve Basingstoke, Winchester and Andover will be built in 2024 - but its location remains underwraps. 

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) hosted an online publication consultation on Thursday night as they set out their vision for the future.

Dr Charlotte Hutchings, deputy chair for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Partnership of Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: "The principals of our vision are very much about delivering the best possible care we can, and empower people to self-manage their conditions.

"We need to innovate and need that access to digital technology in that we have moved on in leaps and bounds since Covid.

"We all believe that care should be as close to people's homes as possible but where necessary we need to centralise services, where that involves giving the best clinical outcomes.

"If you have to travel a bit further for better care, then we do have to seriously think about how we do that in our area.

"We need to ensure that the building as well as the services outside the building are accessible to all of our population."

But the Trust also shared the challenges they will face with building the new hospital. 

Hampshire Hospitals often struggles to fully staff two relatively small Emergency Departments at both Royal Hampshire County Hospital (RHCH) and Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital (BNHH).

It also has issues delivering maternity and paediatric care across multiple sites and risks losing neo-natal services altogether unless the service is placed on a more long-term sustainable footing.

The condition of the buildings is also a concern for the Trust as a "significant amount of urgent maintenance" is needed.

The current cost to make the improvements needed to bring the buildings up to the standard required to support services is £73mn; more than three times the national average. 

But, it would require more than £700mn in maintenance spend to keep the buildings functioning over the course of the next 30 years.

The inherent inflexibility of the estate has been exposed during the Covid-19 crisis.

The trust has struggled to increase the number of beds available for patients and the ability to adapt wards and areas to treat different kinds of patients has been limited.

With the concerns of the changing population and how the new hospital will be able to cope with the capacity, Shirlene Oh, director of strategy at Hampshire Hospitals, said: "We want to take a population health approach, understanding needs.

"Not all needs are medical or clinical and therefore we are working with our partners in primary care to see whether we can support people from a wider sense, preventing the use of acute sercices, technology, and support people in their home, having facilities closer to home.

"Our approach is if we can support wellness and have people to come to acute services only when needed, that is the approach we will be taking."

The Gazette contacted Hampshire Hospitals for further information about potential locations for the new hospital. A spokesman said no location had been set in stone yet and would be informed by public opinion.

The spokesman said: "Apart from the fact that there will be a new hospital, we have a completely blank sheet of paper at the moment, so there is no location yet determined for the new build.

"The feedback we receive, both from events like the one on Thursday, and through the online comment form, will be fed into an engagement report, which will be taken into consideration when decisions on things like the location of the hospital are made later in the process. That’s why it’s so important that people give us their views, which they can do by visiting www.hampshiretogether.nhs.uk or attending one of the online sessions."