Possible plans to close Winchester’s accident and emergency department could put pressure on Southampton's health service, a meeting has heard.

An NHS consultation has said that hospitals in Basingstoke and Winchester were “approaching the end of their usable lives” and plans were being drawn up for a new hospital near the M3 in Basingstoke.

Speaking at a meeting of the Hampshire County Council Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, where the consultation was revealed, was Southampton City Councillor Andy Frampton.

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He said possible plans to close Winchester’s A&E department and relocate it to Basingstoke’s new hospital could put pressure on the Southampton A&E.

Cllr Frampton said: “If that would be the case, how would that be consulted out with the stakeholders? Especially with Southampton because we [the city council] would see pressure being put on the A&E department.”

The 12-week consultation was put forward by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board (ICB), and will mainly cover north and mid-Hampshire. It will seek opinions from patients on the new hospital as well as potential changes to how Hampshire Hospitals NHS delivers acute services.

In response to Cllr Frampton, ICB officer Charlotte Hutchings said: “We are working closely with the management of the hospital in Southampton as well as the clinicians providing the service about what the impact is if we change/close; if the hospital moves, what impact would that have?

“It is absolutely in no one’s interest to impact Southampton. This has to be better for the whole of Hampshire.”

An online petition to save Winchester’s emergency department has achieved 12,941 signatures. 

The draft document consultation plan said: “Hospital buildings in Basingstoke and Winchester, while much loved, are approaching the end of their usable lives.

“Our population has grown and changed since the buildings were built, and medicine has evolved as evidence, knowledge, specialist expertise, and new ways of working have developed.

“We are clear that we want to use this opportunity not just to replace the buildings but to redesign the way we provide care for our population for decades to come.”

No final decision will be made on the future of acute hospital services in Hampshire until an independent analysis is conducted after the consultation.