THE minister for the New Hospital Programme (NHP) said a new site for Basingstoke hospital is "ready to go" during a visit to the town last week. 

Lord Nick Markham, parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, visited Basingstoke hospital on the campaign trail with Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for the town, Maria Miller, ahead of the upcoming general election.

He told the Gazette that a new site is "ready to go" providing the public consultation comes out the way he thinks it will.

The minister, who is responsible for the New Hospital Programme and hospital upgrades, spoke to the Gazette about the progress of the new hospital, originally promised to be built in the town by 2030, but since delayed. 

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Lord Nick Markham visited Basingstoke Hospital alongside Dame Maria Miller, MPLord Nick Markham visited Basingstoke Hospital alongside Dame Maria Miller, MP (Image: Newsquest)HHFT has been told it will receive between £700m and £900m to build a new hospital. However, NHP programme leaders in the government are yet to approve the national business case, meaning funding allocations from 2025 and 2026 onwards have not yet been approved.

The Gazette asked Lord Markham when the funding for Cohort 4 hospitals, including Basingstoke, will be confirmed. 

He said: "The funding is in place. We've earmarked the money already, so it's there. You then have to go through tender processes until you get the exact amount but it is earmarked to be in place."

Asked whether he is sorry that a new hospital will not be built by 2030, as promised, he said: "No, on all these things we have to try and prioritise. The thing that no one expected were these RAAC (Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete) hospitals which were suddenly found that if they weren't rebuilt by 2030 they had to be closed down because they weren't structurally safe.

"So I think everyone would agree that you need to make sure that those are done first.

"We are very firm in our commitment to make sure Basingstoke happens very quickly afterwards."

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Dame Maria added: "The commitment is to make sure that the hospital is built by 2032, doors opening by 2032.

"One of the concerns that I have as the candidate here in the election is that Labour has now said very clearly that they are going to halt all the capital expenditure which will really bring into question that opening date and I think we need some answers on that."

As previously reported, Labour has said it is committed to building a new hospital in Basingstoke if it wins the general election. 

READ MORE: Labour commits to building new Basingstoke hospital as part of election campaign 

We asked Lord Markham if there is an update on the location of the new hospital, which will be built at either land at Junction 7 of the M3 or at the current site of Basingstoke hospital.

He said: "So there's the public consultation which went on and has just been closed. With the election period, we can't report on the findings of that there but as I said when I was at the public meeting a few weeks ago, we've made sure that we've secured the site so if the public consultation comes out the way we think it will do in favour of it, it's ready to go."

Concerns have been raised that the new hospital design - Hospital 2.0 - is not big enough. We asked Lord Markham whether additional funding will be required if this turns out to be the case.

He responded: "The beauty of the new design we've done, it's called Hospital 2.0, they're modular and we can put them up incredibly quickly.

"So when I go around visiting hospitals around the country, I see all the time where we've put up new wards in less than a year, so the beauty again is we've chosen a design which has got the space to expand so if we do need more room, it is very quick to do it."