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FOCUS: What will happen to the new hospital now?

FOCUS: What will happen to the new hospital now?

Friday 24 June 2022

FOCUS: What will happen to the new hospital now?

Friday 24 June 2022


With most of the individuals behind the new hospital plan being ousted in the election... What will happen to the project?

Planning permission has been given and funding agreed, so controversial new hospital looks is on course to be built – but the new Assembly could still have a significant say on how much the project will cost.

Goodbye to many Political Oversight Group members...

In a day of great change on Wednesday, the political head of the project thus far, Lyndon Farnham, retained his seat but many of his former colleagues on the hospital’s ‘Political Oversight Group’ did not.

John Le Fondré, Lindsay Ash, Rowland Huelin and Hugh Raymond were all ousted, while the political capital of leading critic Kristina Moore was strengthened with a poll-topping performance in St. Ouen, St. Peter and St. Mary.

Deputy Moore is now a contender to be the next Chief Minister.

'Friends of Our New Hospital'

Meanwhile, four of the six candidates associated with the ‘Friends of Our New Hospital’ - a campaign group which believes that the States has chosen "the wrong hospital, in the wrong place at the wrong cost" - were elected.

They are St. Saviour poll-topper Tom Binet, Rose Binet, Andy Howell and St. Clement runner-up Barbara Ward.

A review of cost?

Deputy Moore, who chaired the Future Hospital Review Panel, has called for a review of the hospital project.

In her election manifesto, she said: “Although a planning application has been passed, the Inspector did not take into account important issues such as value for money and the timing of borrowing to build. 

“Given the significant financial pressure of inflation which will impact upon every aspect of our lives, I do not believe it would be wise for the island to borrow such a large amount of money now.

“With £100m already spent there is sufficient information available to revert to a dual-site option without delaying the project.”

The Friends of Our New Hospital are also calling for a review, although specifically into its cost.

hospital.jpg

Pictured: Campaign group Friends of Our New Hospital believe that it will cost more than the £804.5m agreed by the Assembly.

The campaign group’s interim chair, Peter Funk, said: “A number of things the Government has previously said have now gone out of the window: the hope that the £756m that it will borrow and invest in the ‘rainy day fund’ will generate a 6-7% return, which will pay for the interest and help pay for some of the project; getting a bond at 2.5% or less; and the fact that the project will cost £804.5m.

“Unfortunately, the markets have retracted by 20% since the beginning of the year and costs have risen significantly so those aspirations are now over.

“That is why we think the project needs to be re-evaluated.”

During the election, Ian Gorst has also said he would support a short review – completing no later than August – on the costs. He has been a longstanding critic of the amount of borrowing that the previous Assembly committed to.

Reform, with its ten elected Members, has said that Jersey cannot afford to waste more time and money on the new hospital project. 

“We do not regard the Overdale site as being ideal,” the party said in its manifesto. “But rather than committing to spend tens of millions of pounds on consultants to restart the new hospital project for the third time (as some are proposing), we will instead focus on delivering healthcare services, getting waiting lists down and supporting our healthcare professionals. 

“We believe that with restraint and proper political oversight, the capital expenditure for the new hospital can be managed more efficiently.”

Deputy Farnham is unsurprisingly keen for the project to continue without interruption.

“I always knew that leading the controversial hospital project was a poison challenge,” he said on getting elected.

“But the Government has been messing around for the last ten years and I fully appreciate that no site or design would be universally accepted. 

“I knew that I was risking my political career but it had to be done and I delivered it.

“I believe that the majority of islanders want the States to get on and build the hospital, but we need to make sure that, as it is built, it is carefully audited and money is well spent.

“Any further delays will increase the cost. I think the new Assembly will want to monitor the project but I would advise against further delays. We are seeing hyper-inflation in the supply of commodities and any delay could add considerable cost to the project.”  

Where are things up to now?

The Our Hospital project is in the ‘pre-contract services agreement phase’ – meaning that a preferred contractor, a joint venture between local firm ROC and hospital-building specialists FCC, has been appointed and an initial contract, worth around £30m, to get the site ready for site work to start has been signed.

Work to strip out the former Les Quennevais School, which will become a temporary home for services currently at Overdale, happened earlier in the year and the refit work is scheduled to start soon. 

The main contract for the actual hospital is due to be signed later this year once final agreements are in place and new Government formed. 

In the meantime, the project team continues to work through the planning consent conditions imposed last month by Environment Minister John Young, who did not fight Wednesday’s election.

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Comments

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Posted by Martin on
Hopefully a new & clean approach to this serious project!
Posted by Keith Marsh on
There should be a short funding review, because as we all know borrowing rates have increased since the last study was completed.
It is time to move on and BUILD the new hospital as agreed. It is urgently needed and to delay is just throwing money repairing the old hospital, which will be raised to the ground some time after 2026.
Posted by Scott Mills on
yes around £50 to £70 mill already spent. Let's scrap that, get a new location and start the process again. Wait until I've left this island, then it doesn't bother me one bit.
Posted by Ruth Smith on
Re the Hospital project, is it too late to reconsider Warwick Farm ( just up the road from St Helier) or St Saviour’s Hospital ( very large, peaceful, States’ owned site) ?
Posted by IanSmith97 on
This is what all the anti Overdale people have been waiting for. I see another 10 wasted years. Time this place grew up.
Posted by Private Individual on
Now we have some decent members hopefully a 2 center site and a reduction in the borrowing.
Posted by Frale Le Pre on
Let us hope that the favoured argument of "we can't stop now, look at all the money we've spent" disappears forever now that we have fresh politicians in the States.
Throwing more money at a mistake doesn't make it better, it just creates a more expensive mistake.

Recent report have found that one third of hospital beds are blocked by patients (pensioners mainly) who have no where else to go. The Limes & St. Helier House were closed without replacements so this should not be a surprise. Provide alternative care facilities and suddenly the existing, convienently located hospital has lots of space. Quennevais school can be turned into AFFORDABLE housing & maybe the island can give up on ridiculous wastes of money like selling Cyril Le Marquand house & destroying Fort Regent while building inferior replacement facilities for onehundred million pounds
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