Plans to close Winchester's A&E department could force patients to travel up to 20 miles, councillors fear, and add strain to staff in Southampton.

Eastleigh borough councillors are calling for the "vital" service at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital to remain open.

It comes after NHS bosses revealed plans to relocate the A&E department at Winchester to a new hospital near the M3 in Basingstoke.

This is due to hospital buildings in both Basingstoke and Winchester which are "approaching the end of their usable lives".

A motion by parliamentary candidate and Lib Dem councillor, Liz Jarvis, calls for a U-turn on the plans arguing they will have a "considerable impact" on residents in the north of the borough. 

Leader of the council, Cllr Keith House, said: “Residents in the north of Eastleigh borough will be rightly concerned about any plans to remove this important health facility, which provides vital accident and emergency support.

"The proposals would mean that residents would potentially have to travel much further for treatment. Many thanks to Councillor Jarvis for raising this issue.”

As part of the restructure the consultant-led maternity services could also close. 

The plans have also been opposed to by Conservative parliamentary candidate Samuel Joynson who has launched his own campaign to keep the service open. 

On Monday, a 12-week public consultation was launched to seek views on how £700 to £900 million should be invested in hospital services.

Proposals include building a new hospital on the current Basingstoke hospital site or near Junction 7 of the M3, opening a 24/7 doctor-led urgent treatment centre at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital and continuing to deliver day-to-day hospital services from the main hospital sites.

Maggie MacIsaac, Chief Executive of NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board, said: “I’m delighted to launch our public consultation today. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve hospital facilities and hospital services across Hampshire for decades to come.

“We want to know what people think about the plans we have put forward to build a new hospital, invest in Winchester hospital, and our proposals for where services are provided from in the future.”

Dr Nick Ward, Interim Chief Medical Officer at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, added: “As a doctor, I want to deliver the very best care for patients. These proposals would help us to consistently provide better care for people by ensuring we have the right groups of services and specialists located together for when people need them.”