COMMERCIAL: Planning approval has been granted for a new hospital build in Hampshire, despite local clinical commissioning groups’ doubts about the affordability of the reconfiguration project.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s development control committee gave its conditional approval for Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust to build a new critical care hospital and cancer treatment centre on a site close to junction 7 of the M3.

Hospital sign

CCGs said they were unable to support a consultation on a new hospital at present

However, the entire future of the trust’s reconfiguration project was recently thrown into doubt when West Hampshire and North Hampshire CCGs and the NHS England Wessex area team said they were unable to support a consultation on the idea at present.

The CCGs said the costs outlined in Hampshire Hospitals’ proposal to centralise critical care treatment in the new hospital were “not affordable”.

They also cited “policy and strategy changes” in the wake of the Five Year Forward View, including proposals for closer integration of acute services with primary, community and council services.

The commissioners said there was an “urgent need” for the local health system to work together to design a “whole care model”, with “extensive work” required over the next year to develop “feasible and affordable options”.

But they added: “It remains possible that a similar model for critical care as that proposed by [Hampshire Hospitals] might emerge as part of one of the options, and if so, would be subject to public consultation at that stage.”

Hampshire Hospitals chief executive Mary Edwards welcomed the granting of planning permission. She said the decision provided “further evidence that our proposal to build on the site… is viable, ahead of any public consultation”.

She added: “Our proposal to centralise services for the sickest and most at risk in a critical treatment hospital at this location will mean we have a sustainable and affordable way to provide even better services for our sickest patients, as well as allowing us to develop services in our local hospitals in Andover, Basingstoke and Winchester to meet the needs of our expanding population.”