PLANS for a new, £3 million redevelopment of Andover War Memorial Hospital to bring it into the 21st century will give it a wow factor' for patients and visitors.

The plan is to build a new modern outpatients department, minor injuries unit and phlebotomy department within a site behind the current hospital outpatients building.

Planning permission will be sought at the earliest opportunity and, if successful, the new building will be completed by this time next year. The current building will then be demolished.

Michael Trayford, director of Berkshire Shared Services, is on the team designing the building and thinks the redevelopment of Andover War Memorial Hospital will change the way healthcare is seen in the town.

"The design objective is to create inviting patient services and improve the patient experience," he said at the annual meeting of Win-chester and Eastleigh Healthcare NHS Trust last week.

"Currently we're asking our staff to work in not the best conditions in a very 1920s style building.

"It's in poor condition and very difficult to maintain.

"Part of the design objective is to also ensure privacy and dignity so no more curtained off consultation rooms.

"When people come to the new look department there will be a bit of a wow factor."

The new plans include 16 individual consultation and treatment rooms, while the new, more spacious waiting areas will include designated children's sections.

"I'm assured Michael and his colleagues have done quite a lot of these developments across Hampshire and they have done a good job, so we are in good hands," said chief executive Martin Wakeley.

"After many months of planning we now have a detailed plan for how we are going to really improve outpatients in Andover.

"It's relatively easy to say we are going to have a new outpatients department but in actual planning it's far more complicated. The £3 million investment is the absolute evidence of what we say we are going to do changing to what we are doing."