It's now looking increasingly unlikely that Jersey will get a single-site hospital at Overdale after the island's politicians comprehensively rejected producing a fresh cost comparison with plans for phased project over multiple sites instead.
The politician behind the £804m plan for Overdale, Deputy Lyndon Farnham, wanted his colleagues to commission a report comparing that cost to new plans to build a smaller facility at Overdale, but also to build on other sites as well, and do it in stages.
However, he didn't receive the necessary support from his colleagues, with States Members comprehensively rejecting his proposals by 32 votes to 15 - something Deputy Farnham says will have "far-reaching consequences for islanders."
Speaking during the debate, Deputy Farnham said:
"We can't wait until 2032 for a remedy, we need to get on with it... I never said it would be a world-class hospital, but Islanders deserve a world class hospital.
"Facilities in the maternity ward are comparable to developing countries, I know this through the birth of my grandson, the staff were fantastic, the facilities were challenging.
"I can't believe the assembly would want to take Overdale off the table, so I'm asking for a direct like-for-like financial analysis on a multi-site scheme compared with Overdale."
However, his colleagues comprehensively rejected his calls, with Chief Minister, Deputy Kristina Moore, commenting: :I don't wish to look back at this debate, it's important to consider how we got here. It took the previous government three years to get to outline the business case, it's important for members to remember, to consider what is being asked of this government today. It has to be practical and achievable and not too costly.
"It means that we have a sustainable and pragmatic approach to major projects. We must make clear that when we were elected, we did not want to plunge Islanders into debt.
A very necessary debate with a disappointing outcome. If the government continue with a multi-site hospital there will be far reaching consequences for the health of islanders #OneHospital https://t.co/ebgcynfGd1— Dep. Lyndon Farnham (@lyndonfarnham) December 13, 2022
Pictured: Deputy Farnham said today's decision would have "far-reaching consequences for islanders."
Despite the £804m 'health campus' plan receiving the support of the previous States Assembly, a recent review backed a “phased option delivered over two or more sites" - primarily at Overdale and Gloucester Street/Kensington Place.
Deputy Lyndon Farnham's proposition required the Council of Ministers to present a report to the States, providing “direct like-for-like” comparisons between the multi-site option and the Overdale proposals – including running costs.
In the report accompanying his proposition, Deputy Farnham said: “Our existing health estate is deteriorating and the longer we delay in delivering a hospital, the more this will impact on running costs, standards of care and recruitment and retention of clinical and professional colleagues.”
He added: “The Overdale project brings clinical services together on a single location in a purpose- built hospital, where patient, staff and visitor experiences will be significantly improved. The greatly improved placement of related medical services, which were established with medical professionals, will ensure that patient flows will be easier and quicker making the hospital a more efficient and effective place for all.”
Deputy Farnham also challenged the assertion that the Overdale project had become unaffordable as a result of the changing financial markets, adding that it could still be funded using a “modified, but similar proposal”.
Chief Minister, I challenge you to a dual...site debate
Our Hospital(s)... Gov review proposes multi-site solution
FOCUS: How much more “affordable” would a multi-site hospital be?
TIMELINE: How long until we get a new multi-site hospital?
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Deputy Farnham discussed the potential new direction for the hospital on last week's edition of Politics Disassembled...
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This is a true democracy in action. Perhaps the most surprising is the fanatic resistance of some of the leading healthcare professionals, public servants entrusted by so many of us. Vested interests? One should expect public service doctors and nurses to be impartial and deliver service in whatever setting is decided by experts, politicians and voters who elected them.