BASINGSTOKE MP Maria Miller said she is pressing for ‘earlier delivery’ of a new hospital for Basingstoke, after being asked to ‘prove’ that funding exists to build it.

As previously reported, fears have been raised that there is no funding to build a new hospital for Basingstoke after an inquiry found ‘no confidence’ that the government will deliver on its promise to build 40 new hospitals.

READ MORE: Funding fears of new Basingstoke hospital as inquiry finds 'no confidence' in project

The highly critical Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report said the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) told members that the current funding for the New Hospital Programme (NHP) “does not include” hospitals in cohort 4 which have been delayed until the 2030s.

Basingstoke hospital is in cohort 4. The PAC recommends that HM Treasury should agree explicitly in writing whether the cohort 4 schemes are to be met from the current agreed funding.

A petition has been launched by Stacy Hart, the Women’s Equality Party (WE) borough council election candidate for Hatch Warren and Beggarwood, calling for Dame Miller to ‘show us the money’ and make sure the new hospital is funded in the Spring Budget on March 6.

It has since been signed by more than 300 people and has also received cross-party support.

Dame Miller is adamant that the funding has been ‘ringfenced’ for the project, but has so far declined to comment on the PAC report.

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Now, she said she is pressing for Basingstoke to be used as a ‘pilot site’ for the NHP and for it to be built earlier.

She said: “Detailed planning for the new hospital for Basingstoke residents is already well underway after the NHS received confirmation from Government of a £900 million budget in May last year. The public consultation is now taking place and I urge every resident in Basingstoke and Deane to take part to have their views heard.

“The money is already allocated by the Treasury which is why the Hampshire Hospital NHS Trust is moving ahead. Their successful 370-page business plan can be seen on the NHS Hampshire Together website.

“A recent Public Account Committee report calls for a "pilot site" and I shall continue to press for earlier delivery of the new Basingstoke Hospital, perhaps as the pilot site, because we already have a location, a plan and widespread positive community support."