NHS bosses are being urged to consider building a new acute hospital in Winchester rather than Basingstoke, after a petition reached 20,000.

Winchester residents have backed a petition to save Winchester’s A&E which is under threat of closure as part of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s (HHFT) plans to centralise healthcare. 

READ MORE: The 14 sites in Basingstoke, Andover and Winchester considered for new hospital 

The NHS Hampshire Together proposals include making Winchester’s maternity midwife-led rather than consultant-led; replacing its emergency department with an Urgent Treatment Centre; and building a new acute hospital in Basingstoke, either on the existing site in Aldermaston Road or at Junction 7 of the M3.

READ MORE: Basingstoke Gazette launches campaign to 'Build Our Hospital'

However, a petition to save Winchester’s A&E has now gained more than 20,000 signatures, putting pressure on hospital bosses to reconsider their plans and build an acute hospital in Winchester instead.

Representatives from the ‘Save Winchester’s A&E’ campaign went out last week to give it a final push to convince residents to sign before the public consultation on the new hospital plans closed on Sunday, March 17.

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Save Winchester’s A&E volunteer Ginny Ward, 64, told the Gazette's sister paper, the Hampshire Chronicle: “It was great to hear the high level of support the current staff and services get at Winchester Hospital. So many people I spoke to were shocked to hear of the plans to downgrade our hospital and people want to keep acute services, including consultant led maternity in or near to Winchester.

“Many people told us how the A&E and hospital had been a lifesaver for them, and how they prefer coming to Winchester Hospital from Romsey, and Andover than going to Southampton or Basingstoke partly because of the travel and waiting times and they have appreciated the care they have received."

The campaign is now calling for HHFT to re-consider former sites that were previously shortlisted for a new hospital, including Sir John Moore Barracks, which is a 30-minute, 23 mile drive from Basingstoke town centre.

According to representatives from the campaign group, two groups from Basingstoke have backed the petition.

Hampshire Together said it will consider the petition as part of the response to its public consultation which ended on March 17.