MORE than £17.5m will need to be spent on maintenance of hospital buildings before a new hospital is built in Basingstoke, the Gazette can reveal.

A 14-week public consultation on plans to build a new hospital for the town has now opened, asking residents for their say on proposals to invest between £700m and £900m across the county into hospital services.

The funding will be used to build a new specialist acute hospital in Basingstoke which would see the relocation of Basingstoke’s emergency department and maternity services, along with centralising some services across Hampshire.

However, the new hospital will not open until at least 2032.

READ MORE: New £800m specialist acute hospital to be build in Basingstoke

Dr Lara Alloway, chief medical officer at NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board (ICB), said the NHS expects maintenance costs in the next couple of years alone will exceed £17.5m.

Speaking to the Gazette, she said: “We are going to have to continue to invest to provide the best care that we can in the best environment. Our staff do an amazing job at managing that. The way that the buildings are organised is not fit for modern care. We are going to invest £17.5m over the next couple of years to improve the ageing estate and making it fit for purpose.”

As previously reported, the construction of a new hospital for Basingstoke has been delayed until the 2030s after the government failed on its promise to deliver 40 new hospitals by 2030.

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Basingstoke is one of eight hospitals in cohort four of the Government’s new hospital programme to be delayed.

Asked whether there is frustration that the building of the new hospital has been delayed, leaving the NHS having to pay millions of pounds in the interim on maintenance, Dr Alloway said: “We are delighted to have the confirmation of the significant investment of between £700m and £900m. We do need a new hospital and the refurbishment of Winchester hospital.

“The Government’s new hospital programme is being delivered in phases. We want to make sure we get this right which is why we are going out to public consultation – we are keen to make sure we are ready.”

A spokesperson for Hampshire Together - the team behind the new hospital project - said: "We welcome confirmation of the investment from government and the huge opportunities this will bring to healthcare and hospital services in our area.

"In the meantime, we will of course make sure any capital investment keeps our existing buildings safe and, wherever possible, is spent in a way which complements our long term plans for 2032 and beyond."