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Current hospital won’t be usable after December 2026

Current hospital won’t be usable after December 2026

Thursday 12 August 2021

Current hospital won’t be usable after December 2026

The current hospital will not be usable after December 2026, the Clinical Director for the new ‘Our Hospital’ project has said, warning that any politicians who suggest delaying it should take responsibility when there is no infrastructure to continue delivering healthcare for islanders.

Professor Ashok Handa’s comments came as the project team was being grilled about the new hospital's Outline Business Case (OBC) by the Future Hospital Review Panel.

Published last month, the OBC shows the Government wants to fund the £800m new hospital at Overdale through two bonds of £400m each - costing the island £1.4bn by the time they are paid off in 40 years.

While it explains funding requirements in depth, it doesn't propose exactly how the bonds would be paid back, noting that the "payment of the annual bond coupon is a new cost to Government and a funding source will need to be identified."

States Assembly.jpeg

Pictured: Senator Farnham said the OBC was comprehensive enough for a political decision to be made.

The Scrutiny Panel, which is chaired by Senator Kristina Moore, launched its review shortly after the document, choosing to focus in the first phase on a “detailed expert analysis” of the OBC to ensure it met the required professional standards and provided the information needed to support the proposed cost and objectives of the Our Hospital Project.

Senator Moore questioned whether it would be best for States Members to have access to the full business case for the project ahead of the debate scheduled for October.

Deputy Chief Minister Senator Lyndon Farnham, who has political responsibility for the project, however said that the outline document was comprehensive enough for a political decision to be made.

“It covers the majority of the issues and then committed to fill in any gaps in information as it becomes available,” he said. “It covers the principles, the economic benefits and the medical benefits and the social benefits. I think it gives enough information on that for us to make a decision ,… whilst we can put some more detail around aspects of that the overarching principles and benefits are very clear.”

The Clinical Director for the 'Our Hospital' project then interjected, arguing that the decision was not only political but also clinical.

He said that the case for a new hospital had been “clearly” made and that there shouldn’t be any further delay to the project, warning that it could have dire consequences as the current hospital reaches the end of its life.


Pictured: Professor Handa is the Clinical Director for the 'Our Hospital' project.

“I’m really glad that the Scrutiny committee and the States Assembly and the Council of Ministers have all agreed that the case from the clinicians looking after the health of the island has clearly been made, and I think if we are saying we don’t have enough information now and want to delay the decision once again I think that will be something very difficult for the healthcare workers of the island to understand or indeed accept,” he said.

“On top of that, it will be the case that those who pushed that decision will need to take some responsibility when we get to 2026 and we don’t have the infrastructure to continue delivering healthcare to the 110,000 people who live in Jersey. I think that’s a very important clinical point which clearly has political implications.”

Later on in the hearing, Professor Handa said it would be “unacceptable” to continue using the hospital.

It followed questions from one of the panel advisors, Helen Pickering, Senior Director at Currie & Brown, who said that a ‘do nothing option’ should have been provided in the OBC to “prove value for money”, as is normal practice.

Professor Handa replied that the case for a new hospital had been made back in 2012 and that since then the need had become more “acute”. He also repeated that the current hospital would not be usable beyond December 2026.

“There are two issues,” Dr Handa added. “One is: ‘is it responsible of us in the healthcare to allow the infrastructure to simply fall apart?’ and we’ve given significant evidence, there is a risk register within HCS and we made it very clear at a number of these hearings that by December 2026 both the operational daily risks as well as the clinical risks are considered to be so significant that going beyond that without some reprovision is not acceptable.

"Hence, on the basis of that, we decided not to take forward 'do nothing' as an option because it’s not a realistic option in any way, shape or form, and that has been accepted by both the States Assembly and by the Scrutiny panel on more than one occasion.”


Pictured: It is currently expected that the new hospital will be completed by the end of 2026.

It is currently expected that the new hospital will be completed by the end of 2026, with Senator Farham having said in June that the team was working “very tightly to the overall target” of completing the hospital by then.

When Ms Pickering pressed for answers, arguing that the ‘do nothing’ approach should have been taken forward for “a baseline comparison”, the Clinical Director became agitated.

“I’m really sorry; what you are asking me to do is to put a price on the lives of patients in Jersey ... that’s what you are asking me to do, to say ‘what am I prepared to spend or not do for patients' lives to be at risk?’. It couldn’t be put any more simpler than that,” he said.

He then started asking Ms Pickering: “Could you tell us what number to put on the life or limb of a patient?” before being interrupted by Senator Moore, who rejected the question as inappropriate.

Martin Clark, Director of Healthcare Advisory at Currie & Brown, also noted in the hearing that while the OBC is quoted as “fully compliant” with HM Treasury Green Book - a key document setting out how governments should approach large-scale public investments – a number of elements were not fully compliant, with no explanation as to why.


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Posted by Peter Richardson on
Current hospital "unusable" after 5 years. Is he having a joke! There are hospitals in war zones that are unusable but still being used. I assume he means sub optimal not "completely useless". Finally I agree with scrutiny this whole process, if you can call it that, needs a full investigation.
Posted by Guy de Faye on
As predicted, the "Our New Hospital" financial and infrastructure catastrophe continues to unfold with the imported UK experts "crying wolf" over the "lifespan" of the General Hospital.

It seems the clinicians now want a determining "say so" in the proposed project, despite previously failing to successfully intervene in the poor design and abysmal maintenance of the various extensions to the existing facility.
If the replacement of the 30 year old ventilation system is anything to go by, the Health Department is allowing the current building to "run itself into the ground", only fixing equipment when it actually breaches regulations. A convenient approach to supporting the "bulldozing" of the All-in-One Hospital scheme.

The fact remains that the entire project is misconceived. The expert consultants may have built dozens of hospitals elsewhere, but the UK has huge land space available. There is clearly minimal understanding of the constraints that apply in Jersey, together with the limitations of "small island economics". The unnecessary £15 Million+ "highway access" is a good example of the mismatch.

This latest "shroud waving" alleges that any delay will cost over £3 Million per month, which is "peanuts" compared to the total £ Billion ++ estimated long term cost. That "delay penalty" would, realistically, be well spent if it allows a total reassessment to put the new hospital on the right track.
That said, who signed off "delay penalty clauses" BEFORE planning consent has been obtained and why was that done? It indicates poor contract negotiation.

I also recall that the original call for a new hospital - apparently made officially in 2012 - was intended as a SECOND hospital aimed at backing up the General Hospital. That made considerable sense in the face of an increasing population. Population growth is much higher than anticipated which, alone, renders the current scheme as simply wrong.
Posted by Davey West on
The project team of nineteen consultants which came up with a plan that has so far cost in the region of £38 million with little to show and certainly no new hospital. Of course we trust this project team, all being paid extremly well. Scrutiny are there for a reason and so far the project team have been an expensive fail.
Posted by James Neal on
A massive new hospital, ... with no staff.
Posted by IanSmith97 on
I am prepared to accept the current hospital is approaching the end of its useful life. How long we can keep blundering on treating people in it is debatable. I agree we need a new hospital. I agree its current site is not suitable on which to build the new one. What I am not prepared to accept is the political imbecility shown by our wonderful parliament full of well paid independent (that’s half the trouble, no cohesion) members who have totally and utterly mismanaged this whole sorry fiasco from the start to the current impasse. It really goes to show if a ‘government’ of a wealthy, sophisticated Island cannot manage the building of a hospital at a reasonable cost (£800m is a joke) then for what in the name of sanity do we pay 49 politicians nearly £50k p.a.? As for the public, everybody has their own preferred sites. We elected this ‘government’ to govern. JUST GET IT BUILT.
Posted by anthony turmel on
at this rate the new hospital will not be ready by 2036...who is making shed loads of money from this pantomime. ?.
Posted by Steve Liron on
Would you really expect him to state otherwise? That’s why jury members in a murder trial are never usually chosen from among the victim’s family….

A new hospital we cannot afford with much current opinion it may be difficult to staff. What’s not to like?
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