THE future of child health services is taking centre stage this week as a consultation by the Trust that runs Andover hospital continues.

As reported in the Advertiser, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) launched the Hampshire Together programme earlier this month.

The scheme will deliver a new hospital to serve the people of north and mid Hampshire, as well as many other healthcare benefits, as part of the government’s plans to modernise NHS hospitals.

Residents are currently being asked for their views on the way health services are provided in the area now and in the future, and this week the focus is on child health services.

These are currently provided at all three of the hospitals operated by Hampshire Hospitals, as well as in the community. This current system provides a number of challenges, solutions to which will need to be found as part of the Hampshire Together programme.

Dr Nick Ward, consultant paediatrician and clinical director of child health at Hampshire Hospitals, said: “I am very proud of the brilliant teams of doctors, nurses and other child health professionals that provide an integrated child centred service to our patients and their families.

“However, with the increasing complexity and changing needs of children’s physical, emotional and mental health there are many challenges with our current system and environment that impact on our ability to develop services that fully support the needs of the population.

“For example, we are limited in our ability to provide high dependency care services for children at either of our hospitals, which means that some children have to be treated at other trusts, often further from home. We are also caring for an increasing number of young people who attend hospital in crisis with mental health or emotional difficulties.

“We have been at the forefront of integrating hospital and primary care, working closely with many of our colleagues in primary care to support the care of all children, in the understanding that although some children need acute hospital services there are many others who can be cared for in the community effectively.

“We are keen to look at how we can further develop our services to suit the future needs of our local children – and we really want to hear from young people and families who have used our services recently to learn about their experiences and listen to what they would like us to be able to do differently.”

An online engagement event about the challenges facing child health services is taking place this Saturday (June 27) at 11am. To register go to

For more on the Hampshire Together programme go to