HAMPSHIRE hospital trust has revealed that two locations have been shortlisted as possible sites for Basingstoke's new hospital - despite previously saying no location would be decided until next year.

It comes after the government announced earlier this month that it is earmarking funding for a "new hospital at Basingstoke & North Hampshire Hospital and major refurbishment at Royal Hampshire Hospital in Winchester".

However, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) claimed at the time that the location and facilities were "not binding" and that no decision would be made until after public consultation was carried out in 2021.

It says that work to identify potential sites for a new hospital has been ongoing since October 2019, when the government announced that north and mid Hampshire would be one of the areas to benefit from its promise to build 40 new facilities before 2030.

Sites across Alton, Andover, Basingstoke, Eastleigh, Winchester and the surrounding areas were considered, and the trust has now confirmed that it has been narrowed down to two potential sites.

The first is located between Basingstoke and Winchester, near to junction seven of the M3, with the other being based on the current site of Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital on Aldermaston Road.

Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which leads the Hampshire Together programme alongside Hampshire and Isle of Wight Partnership of Clinical Commissioning Groups and West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “After an exhaustive site selection process, I’m delighted that we have two site options for a possible new acute centralised hospital to serve mid and north Hampshire.

“Whilst we have identified two possible sites, no final decisions have been taken and we look forward to talking to our staff and the public about our proposals for the future when we go out to public consultation early next year. We are looking forward to discussing the pros and cons of each of the possible locations as part of the formal consultation process.

“But this is not just about a building, we are using this as an opportunity to think about how we provide health services which will meet the needs of our population for decades to come. We have already announced six potential clinical service options and further work is underway to develop a shortlist for consultation, where service and site options come together.

“As well as the location of any new hospital, we are also looking forward to speaking to staff, patients and the public about the way we propose to work together to deliver health, wellbeing and care services in the future.

“This includes making significant investment at Royal Hampshire County Hospital, in Winchester, as well as exploring opportunities to provide additional services in other locations across north and mid Hampshire, giving all of our patients access to high-quality, timely and sustainable health care as close to home as possible.”

The trust carried out an "extensive" site selection study across the catchment area to identify suitable land. Pieces of land that were large enough to house a hospital and health campus were then ranked according to how they performed, against a total of 36 weighted criteria, before negotiations began to assess their availability, price and the current owners’ willingness to sell.