A PUBLIC consultation on plans to build a new hospital for Basingstoke have been delayed to carry out “detailed planning work”.

As previously reported, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) was planning to consult with the public on how to spend its share of a £3.7 billion government funding package in the early summer.

It has already announced that the new hospital is hoped to be built by 2028, with the public expected to be invited to take part in a consultation regarding the location and other details.

However, HHFT chief executive Alex Whitfield has now said the Hampshire Together programme has been delayed.

In a statement issued jointly with Maggie MacIsaac, chief executive of Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group, they said: “In discussion with national and regional NHS colleagues, we have agreed together that our plans for a new hospital will be even stronger if we can incorporate newly available national planning information and recent learnings from others around the country.

“We also want to ensure our plans are as affordable as possible and deliver the best possible value for money. We have therefore decided to do some more detailed planning work before taking our plans out to public consultation.”

They added: “We look forward to continuing to work with partners across the Hampshire health and care system as well as regionally and nationally to bring our vision for a new hospital for Hampshire and improved health services to life for local people.”

There has been much speculation and secrecy over where the new hospital will be built.

The trust revealed a list of six shortlisted options, but meeting papers seen by the Gazette showed it had already selected a ‘preferred option’ prior to the public consultation.

The trust then revealed two locations which had been shortlisted further – the first between Basingstoke and Winchester, near to junction seven of the M3, and the other based on the current site of Basingstoke hospital, in Aldermaston Road.

However, the trust’s chief medical officer previously hinted that Basingstoke hospital is unlikely to be re-built using the funds, because there is no space for it to expand.

Ms Whitfield has previously said that a decision regarding location will be made late this year.