THE chief executive of a hospital trust has raised concerns over the funding of a new Basingstoke hospital with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC).

Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT), spoke to the DHSC about concerns in the public domain that plans for a new hospital for the town may be at risk because of a lack of funding.

The concerns were raised following the publication of a government report stating that the £22bn funding for the National Hospital Programme does not include those in cohort 4. 

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Basingstoke hospital is in cohort 4. 

The town was promised a new hospital in 2019 as part of the Government’s New Hospital Programme which will see 40 new hospitals built across the country.

But five years since that promise was made as part of the Government’s election manifesto, the town still does not have a new hospital and it was announced last year that Basingstoke hospital is one of eight projects to be delayed until 2032. 

Ms Whitfield received a written response from the DHSC on February 7 which she has shared with the Gazette, stating that the DHSC wishes to “provide reassurance to the people of Hampshire”.

It reiterated that the £700m to £900m for the Hampshire scheme is an “indicative allocation” but added: “We would not have supported a move to public consultation if we were not confident that funding would be available for the programme.”

Ms Whitfield confirmed to the DHSC that the consultation for the new hospital has had “high levels of local engagement”.

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The DHSC has already given the trust and Integrated Care Board funds through the New Hospital Programme to develop the next level of detail for the scheme and to move to public consultation on site options and clinical models.

Once this has concluded and a final decision is made on the site location and the clinical model, the trust will submit a series of business cases to the Treasury which will be used to refine the capital investment required “to ensure that the precise amount requested is appropriate for the needs of Hampshire and is good value for money for the taxpayer”.

The DHSC letter added: “This is an entirely normal process for major public capital schemes, and in no way casts doubt on the government’s commitment to the plans.

“We at the national team are in place to deliver the new hospitals for the country, and we will work with you, in Hampshire, to deliver the new hospital for Hampshire. Please re-confirm to your partners, stakeholders, staff and public, that this is a national government commitment, and there will be a new hospital for Hampshire.”