OUR local health service is going from strength to strength, and I’m pleased to report the latest step.

Our part of Hampshire is getting a brand-new orthopaedic hub and outpatient facility to turbocharge hip and knee replacements.

The business plan has been approved and the new facility will be based at the Royal Hampshire in Winchester serving Andover and its surrounds.

Operating six days a week it will deliver an extra 2,400 procedures a year — a huge uplift in addition to the surgery already taking place. Construction begins later this year, and it represents another big step forward.

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To be sited between Andover and Basingstoke at Junction 7 of the M3, our new general hospital is also confirmed, and we have secured hundreds of millions of pounds which will allow us to drive forward our plans.

Health bosses and local partners have been working up the design and planning process, next steps will be to secure the proposed new site and work through the planning application.

At the War Memorial Hospital here in Andover, the brand new multi-million-pound GP surgery is up and running and serving local people.

And construction is well underway on the £6.5 million diagnostic hub — a one-stop-shop for scans and tests in the heart of our community.

It will allow people to have potentially lifesaving checks and early diagnosis for conditions without needing to travel further afield. It opens later this year. 

This is all on top of the TVBC-funded expansion of St Mary’s Surgery currently underway and the recent expansion of the Countess of Brecknock Hospice.

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We are very lucky here in Andover to be doing so well from the health service in its 75th year. All in all, this is the biggest health investment in our area and it comes off the back of a lot of hard work and campaigning by many. I’ve often said that a big part of my mission is to keep Andover at the top of the agenda, in health, education and fighting crime.  

Our town is growing. Notwithstanding the serious issues facing so many families with the cost of living and the impact of global inflation, this huge set of investments recognises the need to keep Andover, Whitchurch, Overton and the whole area healthy, so that we can thrive into the future.