Anyone who has been associated with large government projects knows that there are many stages of approval to go through. This simplified summary may help.

First of all, funding has to be obtained. Thanks to the work of the Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, supported by Maria Miller’s lobbying, that has been achieved and £700-£900 million has been ringfenced for Basingstoke’s and Winchester’s new hospital facilities.

Knowing that the funding is available enables the Trust to move to the next stage, which is a public consultation on the location of the new hospital and the services it will provide. That consultation has started. Please take part, by visiting the Hampshire Together website.

When the consultation has been completed, the local NHS and NHS England will decide on the most appropriate site, secure it and design the hospital. Those decisions will affect the costs of the project.

When it knows the detailed costs, the Trust will prepare a detailed business case for the project and ask for the ring-fenced funding to be released. That business case will be closely scrutinised.

Some people do not understand the difference between securing the funding and getting it released. I have worked on major government-funded projects and can report from experience how each step in the process is carefully monitored and checked.

The people who have been stirring up doubt about the funding are doing Basingstoke a disservice. In Winchester, there is a campaign to change the proposals. They do not doubt that the funding is available!

And importantly, the Hospital Trust – our local NHS itself – has reaffirmed that it received a letter in May 2023 confirming that it is part of the government’s New Hospital Programme with a committed investment of between £700 million and £900 million.

If people want to doubt what I say, that’s up to them. But when they question the accuracy of what they are being told by our local NHS, which is working so hard to deliver the new hospital we so badly need, then they are overstepping the mark - and letting down the people of Basingstoke in the process.

Stephen Reid

County councillor, Basingstoke South West and past stakeholder governor, Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust

Centurion Way,

Hatch Warren

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