BASINGSTOKE'S MP has demanded action to ensure health facilities in the town meet the demand of a rising population after proposals for a new £150m hospital near Junction 7 look set to be pulled.

Maria Miller MP has joined Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in saying the decision by NHS England and local Clinical Commissioning Groups to stop plans to build a new critical treatment hospital to the west of Basingstoke calls into question large scale housebuilding plans in the borough, backed by the government.

As reported by The Gazette earlier today, the hospital, which would have centralised Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust's (HHFT) emergency and critical care services between Basingstoke, Andover and Winchester, has been deemed "not affordable" by the North Hampshire and the West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG).

The groups pay trusts including HHFT to provide health services.

A review which came up with this conclusion is due to be discussed at a joint CCG meeting this Thursday. 

The new centre was proposed by local hospital clinicians six years ago to ensure 24/7 consultant care and centralise the care of the sickest patients, but the likely decision by the CCGs to pull the scheme has outraged political figures in Basingstoke.

Mrs Miller said: “The new critical treatment hospital (CTH) is an integral part of the Hampshire Hospitals [NHS Foundation] Trust's plan to tackle the growing demands for patient care in north and mid-Hampshire.

"It's a solution proposed by local NHS Hampshire Hospital doctors as the best way to ensure our growing populations in Basingstoke and Winchester have 24/7 access to acute care, inline with government policy. NHS Improvement, NHS England and the CCGs have procrastinated about these proposals for five years or more with countless costly reviews and programme boards.

"Basingstoke's Local Plan is clear - we need to see expanded local facilities in place before new homes are built. The Basingstoke Local Plan runs until 2029 and at the moment we have no agreed NHS plan of action that covers this period.

"If the NHS is now backing away from supporting a CTH they need to come up with an alternative plan for Basingstoke fast. Basingstoke has one of the highest levels of house building in the country. Primary and acute care is already under huge pressure.

"Local NHS leaders need to demonstate to residents that there is a clear plan for both GP and hospital care.

“I have already had an urgent meeting with the health secretary Jeremy Hunt, who has committed to making sure that NHS England and the CCG shows us a clear plan for delivering the healthcare that our growing population needs. This needs to happen early in the new year.

"I have also met with ministers responsible for housing to ask for their help and support in getting an NHS plan for Basingstoke that reflects the long-term plans for growth, not just the immediate needs for the next five years."

Councillor Clive Sanders, leader of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, added: “It would be a reckless folly to build the thousands of much-needed new homes that are already planned without ensuring that the people who will live in them have proper access to decent health care.

"It is vital that the NHS has a plan for high quality health service provision for the borough as a whole that matches the growth in population and that is delivered as an integral part of that growth, not as an afterthought.

"The new homes are already on the way. We need the NHS to step up and play their part now or solving our housing shortage just will not happen.”

Jeremy Hunt, health secretary, said: “Maria met with me and made a compelling case about the need for a full plan in the Basingstoke area - one that specifically takes account of potential population growth and the local council’s commitment to high levels of house building.

"I will therefore be holding a meeting in March with Maria to hear from NHS England a detailed plan for provision of health services for Basingstoke residents.”