Concern for local services grew when NHS providers set out plans to withdraw a number of clinics from the Chase Community Hospital, which serves East Hampshire, last month.
Now, as a campaign demanding better health provision for the district gathers momentum, the area’s clinical commissioning group is undertaking detailed planning work for a health campus – a long-promised addition to the town’s regeneration project.
A spokesman said: “The NHS South Eastern Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is developing a business case for the new health campus at Whitehill and Bordon, and this case will describe the services we envisage being available in the new facility.
“This is being finalised and will go to the governing body for consideration in July.
“We do see value in trying to provide a minor-injuries service – in which local GPs and other staff would be available to treat patients when the need arises.
“We have already commissioned extended opening of GP services until 8pm in the evening and at weekends and would expect this service to continue in the new facility.”
The CCG insisted a “service” is “different from a minor-injuries unit (a dedicated facility)”.
James Brand, who started a petition for better healthcare in the town, said he found it ‘disgusting’ that if his young family needed medical attention they would need to travel up to an hour to the nearest A&E.
He has been overwhelmed with the response and comments and is making the campaign easier to support.
He told The Herald: “There will be a paper petition going in the library, community centre and doctors for those people who can’t get to a computer.
While he appreciates the serious emergency and specialist care found in large hospitals would not come to Bordon, he said the lack of medical services in the area as ‘simply unacceptable.’
It is a sentiment shared by other residents who feel, with a growing population, services should be arriving in, not disappearing from, the former garrison town.
The Hampshire Hospitals Foundation NHS Trust provides a number of services at The Chase, including ear, nose and throat (ENT), audiology, maxillofacial, paediatrics and X-ray.
It thinks all of them should go elsewhere.
In fact, the trust said it was, “keen to re-locate as many of the services as possible from The Chase Community Hospital to Alton Community Hospital”.
The reasoning is the clinics are ‘under used’ and provide a poor cost-to-activity ratio.
The ENT service is set to operate from Alton from Thursday, June 21.
However, even if all the trust’s clinics follow, there will still be activity at The Chase.
Other providers offer mental-health services, physiotherapy, musculoskeletal service, sexual-health clinics and more.
Decisions on what health services to provide are in the hands of the CCG, which commissions clinics where it thinks they will be most efficient.
Frank Williams-Thomas, chairman of The Chase League of Friends, has campaigned for the town’s health services in the past.
He said; “While I admire someone having enough interest to start a petition, there is a problem asking for something that will never happen – in other words an A&E in the town.
“A&E needs a full district-hospital facility to back it up, such as anaesthetists, blood transfusion.
“A minor-injury room would be more realistic but that subject has been going for maybe 30 years.
“Also the CCG ignored the League of Friends petition of over 3,000 signatories collected in about two weeks, that the (beds) ward should not be closed.”