Plans for a new hospital near Basingstoke are set to be ruled out calling into question the large-scale house building plans for the area.
The borough’s MP Maria Miller has joined Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in criticising the decision to overturn proposals put in place six years ago for a new Critical Treatment Hospital to meet the demands of a growing population.
A review into health care changes, which deemed the plans ‘are not an option for the foreseeable future’ due to financial difficulties, will be discussed at a meeting with local health bodies today.
The recommended decision on the new hospital comes after a six-month review by clinical commissioning groups who have been looking at a more community-based model of care.
Mrs Miller said: “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.”
She said she had an urgent meeting with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to ensure the clinical commissioning group comes up with a ‘clear plan for delivering the healthcare the growing population needs’ in the next year.
Mrs Miller confirmed there would be a meeting in March with the Secretary of State to hear an alternative and detailed plan from NHS England.
Cllr Clive Sanders, leader of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council said it would be ‘reckless folly’ to build thousands of new homes ‘without ensuring people have proper access to decent healthcare’.
He added: “We need the NHS to step up and play their part now or solving our housing shortage will not happen.”
Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are naturally disappointed [with] the recommendation.
“The joint work recognised that this proposal would improve quality and accessibility for our patients, but has concluded that it is not affordable with the current ambitious assumptions around spending less on hospital services.”
Dr Nick Broughton, chief executive of Southern Health NHS Trust, said: “Most people prefer to be in their own homes rather than hospital, so we welcome the focus from our partners on increased community care and support.
“We know earlier support and care at home can avoid the need for hospital visits, which is better for patients and eases the pressure on busy hospitals.”