The former Minister in charge of the £800m plan to build a one-site hospital at Overdale is calling for the Government to provide data to back up their assertion that it is no longer affordable before changing course towards a multi-site solution.
The recent review of the hospital project by Infrastructure Minister Tom Binet and Expert Adviser Alan Moore concluded that the Government should instead seek to spread its health services across several sites in a move the Minister claims could save £50m.
However, page 113 of the 114-page review contained the caveat: “All of the assumptions laid out in the above model are subjective and should be validated by a further detailed analysis prior to ratification of the selection of the option going forward.”
At last night’s Q&A event with Ministers, an online attendee asked Deputy Binet when the Government would carry out analysis to ensure the decision is backed by data. “Assuming we get it through the Assembly, then as soon as we get it through," he replied.
Video: Deputy Binet was asked about Expert Adviser Alan Moore's "subjective" remark in the review in last night's Q&A event.
Deputy Lyndon Farnham, who was also at the event, is now calling for the Government to carry out that work as soon as possible to ensure there is “certainty” that the multi-site scheme is better clinically and financially, before officially changing course from the plan he proposed while the Minister in charge.
If successful, his proposition would require 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.
It would also prevent the States Assembly from making a decision “that would deviate from the decisions previously taken on the Hospital project” until the report has been presented.
The previous decisions referenced in the proposition include the site selection, preferred access route and land acquisition as well as the approved financing.
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.”
He also noted that the published review was subjective “at its own admission”, referring to the final paragraph in the 114-page document.
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”.
He included sections from the review, referring to a “new approach” to borrowing that would involve shorter-term debt being replaced by longer-term funding as the project progressed.
Deputy Farnham said: “The Treasury team should be praised for continuing their work from to produce a more flexible method of financing the project which could be applied to either option.”
He added: “The report warrants much greater analysis than I have been able to give in these few pages, and we have a duty to make such important decisions – which ultimately will affect the health and the very lives of every Islander for decades to come – on the basis of good evidence.”
Deputy Farnham discussed the potential new direction for the hospital on last week's edition of Politics Disassembled...
Pictured top: Infrastructure Minister Deputy Tom Binet and former leader of the Our Hospital project, Deputy Lyndon Farnham, at last night's Q&A event.
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