THE construction of a new hospital for Basingstoke will be delayed until the 2030s according to a new report, which said the government will miss its target to build 40 new hospitals by 2030.

Basingstoke is one of eight hospitals in cohort four of the government’s new hospital programme to be delayed until after 2030, despite government promises.

The news was revealed in a report from the National Audit Office (NAO) which said that the government will fail to deliver 40 new hospitals by 2030, as promised when it announced a £3.7bn funding package in 2020.

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It said the new hospital schemes promised by the government in 2020 now face ‘substantial delays and will not be completed by 2030, inevitably with implications for patients and clinicians'.

Cohort four hospitals, which includes Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT), will be delayed until after 2030, when they will form part of a new five-year rolling programme of planned hospital upgrades.

Funding of £800m to build Basingstoke’s new hospital was announced in May by health secretary Steve Barclay.

But the plans were put into doubt because of fears over insufficient funding and rising costs, with the project for Basingstoke already two years behind a published scheduled timeline.

A public consultation due to take place in January 2021 to help decide between two shortlisted locations has still not been held.

The two potential sites are land off Junction 7 of the M3 or the current site of Basingstoke hospital, but it appears that the Junction 7 site is the preferred site following discussions in Parliament.

The NAO report warns that cost-cutting and inaccurate modelling of future demand could mean new hospitals are too small.

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Its report said: “There could be substantial risks to value for money if this were to lead to hospitals that were too small to meet the needs of the communities they serve or if costs were to be inflated because so many hospitals were being built at once.”

It predicts that only 32 of the promised 40 hospitals will be built by the 2030 deadline, with Basingstoke one of those put on hold until after 2030.

The report said: “It has been clear since the 2020 Spending Review that the schemes in cohorts 3 and 4 could not commence major capital works until after the start of the next Spending Review period in April 2025.

"The lack of an agreed programme scope and a clear indication of funding for the programme after 2024-25 limited the schemes’ ability to carry out other useful work in 2021 and 2022 because there was no clarity about the scale of new construction that NHP could afford at each site.”

This could explain why the new hospital project for Basingstoke has come to a halt.

The report warns of ‘structurally unsound’ hospitals that ‘urgently need replacement’.

It also found the government has used a ‘broad’ definition of ‘new’, which includes refurbishing existing buildings.

MP for Basingstoke Maria Miller said: "The government has consistently reiterated its commitment to the New Hospital Programme.

"In May, the health secretary confirmed that Basingstoke’s new hospital is part of this programme with £900 million ringfenced for our hospital trust, the largest healthcare infrastructure investment in our town’s history.

"This hospital will transform the way that healthcare is delivered across Basingstoke, ensuring we have access to world-class treatments well into the future, with primary care sitting alongside.  

"A huge amount of work has already gone into the HHFT plans, understandably the pandemic, post-pandemic NHS catch up and vaccine rollout have been challenging for both the government and the NHS locally and nationally.

"It is on account of these factors, that the completion date for our hospital has moved from 2030 to 2032/33.

"The next stage of the process is the public consultation which is due to take place in the autumn and I look forward to encouraging as many people as possible to get involved.

"As part of that, I shall be holding one of my regular ‘community chat’ events on the new hospital plans in November.’’

HHFT has been asked for a comment.