PLANS  to revolutionise healthcare in Andover look set to be delayed.

It was announced in May last year that an urgent treatment centre (UTC) was to be created at Andover War Memorial Hospital in a bid to provide more joined up services.

The GP-led facility, which will be open 12 hours a day, seven days a week, and be equipped to deal with minor illnesses and injuries, was due to open in July 2019.

The service would also bring the extended access GP hub and out-of-hours service under one roof at the hospital using an existing building at the hospital.

But during a meeting with councillors at Hampshire County Council, NHS bosses said that deadline is unlikely to be met and the centre would open in autumn this year or even April next year.

Talking at the meeting of the Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee held in Winchester on Tuesday, Jenny Erwin, director of commissioning at West Hampshire CCG said July 2019 is when the new service “should be up and running”.

But she added: “The providers are now working together with the CCG to design that services. In the design work we have done together we think it is very unlikely we will meet the July 2019 deadline.

“We are trying our best to make sure it is absolutely the service our patients need in Andover so we probably extend the deadline to bring that service on.”

After the meeting a spokesman for West Hampshire CCG said in spring last year West Hampshire CCG undertook a procurement for Andover UTC but no bids were received.

“As a result there was some delay to the process”, the spokesman added.

He also said the incumbent providers - Hampshire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT), Mid Hampshire Healthcare and Partnering Health Ltd - were then invited to talk with the CCG to co-produce the service model and contracting arrangement for the centre in Andover.

West Hampshire CCG said discussions are now ongoing and it is envisaged that the mobilisation phase will begin in April with a go-live date in late October.

In a statement it added: “Continuity of existing services will be maintained until the new service is mobilised.

“We are committed to designing the highest quality services and to getting the mobilisation right. Providers and commissioners want to avoid mobilising services during winter, when seasonal pressures and patient care must remain the primary focus.”

After being challenged by councillors over the impact that shortage of staff across the NHS will have on the scheme, NHS bosses said that staff recruitment and retention are their key focuses at the moment.

The Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee requested to receive an  update on the UTC at its next meeting in November.