WORK on a new £10m hospital serving thousands of patients across Hampshire is finally about to start after years of planning.

Hythe and Dibden War Memorial Hospital will be replaced by a state-of-the-art complex providing a raft of services for people living in the New Forest.

In many cases the long-awaited facility will prevent patients having to travel to hospitals in Southampton and other parts of the county.

Daily Echo:

According to NHS West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Property Services work will start before the end of this month.

In a statement the CCG said: "The new hospital will provide a range of health and wellbeing services for local people including outpatient, therapy and diagnostic services as well as specialist community dentistry.

"The CCG has worked closely with local people, the hospital League of Friends, the Royal British Legion, the parish council, local churches and community groups to ensure the design of the building is modern, fit for purpose and reflects its strong local heritage."

The new hospital - expected to cost about £10.7m - is due to be completed in May 2022.

"The majority of services currently provided at the hospital will continue running as normal throughout the construction period, but in the event of any disruption, patients will be kept informed and, where necessary, redirected to alternative locations."

Daily Echo:

Dr Sarah Schofield, clinical chairman of the CCG, said: “We’re really excited to be taking these final steps in the redevelopment of Hythe and Dibden War Memorial Hospital.

"We would like to thank the local community and the League of Friends for all their hard work and support in making this a reality.”

Susan Swaffer, regional partnership director for NHS Property Services, said the efforts of various organisations would enable the delivery of a "modern, start-of-the-art, sustainable healthcare facility which will be flexible and fit for purpose, both now and for future generations”.

Confirmation of the start date was also welcomed by John Carr, chairman of the League of Friends.

He said: "This is such good news for the local community and has been long awaited. We are so pleased we can now progress with the construction of the building which will continue to provide a variety of much valued clinical services and maintain its importance as the war memorial.”

The building will replace an ageing and "functionally unacceptable" hospital built more than a century ago.