RESIDENTS are being asked to share their views on the delivery of emergency care across the region as part of a programme to modernise north and mid Hampshire’s health services.

The Hampshire Together programme is set to deliver a new hospital to serve this area of the county, plus many other healthcare benefits, under the government’s Health Infrastructure Plan to modernise NHS hospitals.

As part of the programme, people across north and mid Hampshire are currently being asked for their views on the way health services are provided in the area now and in the future.

This week, the focus is on emergency care – and not just emergency departments, but also ambulance services, NHS 111, and community-based support. An online engagement event regarding the challenges facing emergency care in the region is set to take place on Saturday.

Outlining the issues facing the Trust, clinical director for urgent and emergency care, Dr Jay Chitnis says it has been a struggle to prevent patients waiting for more than four hours in emergency departments in recent years.

And while improvements have been made, the Trust’s ability to improve is said to be restricted at the current time.

Dr Chitnis continued: “Running more than one emergency department brings extra costs and challenges. This was evident recently when, during the Covid-19 crisis, we had to take the difficult decision to temporarily close the minor injuries unit at Andover because the specialist nurses working there were needed in our other hospitals.

“We also have limited space. For example, we would like to offer improved facilities for people with additional mental health needs, but there is simply nowhere to do this in our current locations.

“And crucially, we also need to revisit how all of the local services knit together. Most people want services to be joined up, and we recognise the importance of doing that.

“We really want to hear from people 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.”

Dr Nicola Decker, clinical chair for north Hampshire at the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Partnership of Clinical Commissioning Groups, added: “Getting emergency care right is essential to all of us.

“People with an urgent health concern often don’t know where to turn or how to navigate the different options. We are committed to working together to build a system which makes it easier and simpler for people to make good choices. We want to ensure that people get the best outcomes possible at a time which is usually very frightening for them and their loved ones.

“That means building a network of services working together to give people the help they need – both face-to-face and virtually. It means bringing the ambulance service, GP surgeries, mental health teams, the 111 service, and hospital staff together so that the most seriously ill people get high quality, life-saving emergency care, while others are put in touch with skilled staff who can support them in convenient settings, away from A&E.

“We need to build a system which gives local people better urgent care, and which makes life better for frontline staff who are often working under intense pressure. That is a difficult task, but it is so important. I really hope people can take some time to get involved and give us feedback which can help influence our thinking.”

Isobel Wroe, director of partnerships and strategic development at South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS), said: “As a modern ambulance service, we deliver our services through a combined and integrated approach with our wider health colleagues, as well as responding to emergency 999 and urgent GP calls.

“The expansion of our non-emergency NHS 111 and patient transport service means that SCAS now provides an integrated urgent care model to clinical assessment, sign-posting and advice.”

Residents can hear more about the challenges facing emergency care and have their say on the matter during an online engagement event, which takes place on Saturday, July 4, at 11am.

To register for the event go to

For more information on the Hampshire Together programme go to

The Hampshire Together: Modernising our Hospitals and Health Services programme involves NHS and social care providers across Alton, Andover, Basingstoke, Eastleigh, Winchester and the surrounding areas. It is being led by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Partnership of Clinical Commissioning Groups, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group.

The programme includes the construction of a brand new hospital – but its impact will reach far beyond the walls of this new building, involving GPs, mental health, community care, social care and the wider voluntary sector, as well as acute hospital care.