A panel of hospital chiefs and Basingstoke's MP held a community chat to update residents and councillors on the impending new hospital - and it was announced that public consultation on the plans will open before Christmas. 

The community chat was held by Maria Miller at Hatch Warren Community Centre on Saturday, November 18, where updated information, including a video showing what the new hospital could look like, was presented to the public.

As previously reported by the Gazetteat a meeting held on Thursday, July 6 at Rooksdown Community Centre, it was confirmed that £900m has been 'ring-fenced' for the new Basingstoke Hospital, which is due to open in 2032.

This came after it was previously reported that funding of £800m was awarded to build the new hospital.

Basingstoke Gazette: Community chat with Maria MillerCommunity chat with Maria Miller (Image: Sean Dillow)

A number of residents and councillors quizzed the panel on several issues, namely the location of the new hospital, and whether it will be built on its existing site or the proposed ground at Junction 7 M3.

Some associated issues were also discussed, including the effect on residents regarding traffic, transport services to the new hospital, quality of care, and the use of the Oakdown Farm development, should the hospital be built at Junction 7.

Integrating care into the community, and dentistry, were some of the topics also discussed.

Chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Alex Whitfield joined Ms Miller on the panel, as did Dr Charlotte Hutchings, chief strategy and population health officer Shirlene Oh, associate director of provider management, Clare Whalley, and chief strategy and transformation officer, Caroline Morison.

Ms Whitfield spoke about why the new hospital was needed, citing four major reasons why Basingstoke has been selected as needing one.

These four factors were the growth in the local population, the condition of the buildings at the current hospital site, a desire for clinical services to be configured at each hospital between the trust, and the proposals which offer the most cost-effective care and treatment for the community.

The visual impacts of a new hospital, particularly if it ended up at Junction 7 of M3, were discussed, with the new design taking into account the effect on the scenery and surrounding area. The hospital will be built in a new, modular design, with a different layout to existing hospital floors.

As opposed to wards with a number of beds and patients in one room, patients will be housed in separate rooms, to promote better eating and sleeping habits and better cleanliness, in a bid to reduce hospital stay admission times.

She said: “We have an amazing opportunity to invest in our services and our buildings in ways which will make a difference to our patients and colleagues for decades to come.

"Given the size of the programme, we want to make sure we do the very best we can with the opportunity we have been given. and that is why we are working with our stakeholders, communities, and the public.

"We are committed to working together as we move forward towards a formal public consultation, seeking the views and thoughts of as many people as we can."

It was reiterated at the meeting that the two sites for the proposed new hospital were still the land at Junction 7 of M3, or building on the existing hospital site on Aldermaston Road.

Members of the board, including chief executive Ms Whitfield, confirmed works were already a way in regarding the planning process, and once the public consultation is over, they would look towards selecting a site for the new hospital.

It was said that the public consultation is hoped to take place before Christmas.

Ms Miller said: “The plans for our new hospital have achieved a key milestone with the announcement that the public consultation starts before Christmas.

"After securing £900m of ring-fenced government funding for our new hospital earlier this year, moving to a full public consultation before Christmas is an important next step.

"The residents who came along to my community chat had the opportunity to raise important questions with senior NHS staff before the consultation starts including the hospital location, transport links, and how the new hospital will work with existing local NHS services.” 

She urged residents to take part in the consultation in the hopes that it would speed up delivery of the hospital.