Over £7million will be needed to get the future hospital project off the ground again, as the government works towards submitting a new plan in the next 20 months.
In a statement released on Friday evening, the Chief Minister proposed what he described as a “fresh and bold” approach to delivering a new hospital for the island.
The new way of doing things will see the government move from project manager to client, with a planning application due to be published as soon as next year.
£44.46million was spent on the previous project, which has now been shelved and had its team disbanded. According to the most recent set of government accounts, £27million of that sum has had to be written off.
Pictured: £27million had to be written off after the previous Future Hospital project was scrapped.
Now the government is readying itself to spend over £7million more to kickstart the project again, with a design, planning application and full cost plan complete within 20 months.
The first eight to nine months of the project will cost £2.6million and take into account the site selection process, which is unlikely to start completely from scratch, but involve assessment of around five preferred areas.
The second phase – months nine to 20 – are estimated to cost a further £4.8million. The Chief Minister added, however, “…at this stage this is not a confirmed figure and these costs will be indicative until all the procurement work in the first phase is complete and a more detailed budget and cash flow forecast is agreed at the business case stage.”
With the former Future Hospital team having been disbanded, a new team will now be appointed through a procurement process.
They will include a Project Director, a Health Planner/Clinical Lead, a clinical design team, specialist legal/procurement advice, a communications and engagement lead, financial and economic appraisal advice, and site assessment advisors.
The Chief Minister @John_Le_Fondre is delivering a Statement on the Future Hospital project. He outlines a 3 phase approach, with the aim of producing a draft planning submission by 2020 in time for new Island Plan.— States Assembly (@StatesAssembly) May 3, 2019
So far, details remain scarce as to how the project plans will significantly differ from the previous scheme.
However, the Chief Minister made clear that the new future hospital process would involve greater engagement with the community. This could even include the use of a citizen’s jury – a planning decision process that is popular in Ireland.
The Chief Minister also pledged to work with the Environment Minister on establishing a ‘public interest test’ on any site selected and the scheme due to be developed there, following previous difficulties in securing approval for the previous proposals.
It also will involve deciding on the requirements of the development and an overall scheme before deciding on a site, which is expected to secure greater buy-in from the public.
While the exact specifications of any new development have not yet been decided, it has been suggested that any new development will have to take into account the island’s current mental health needs, the growing role of tech in the medical world and the potential for service-sharing with Guernsey.
Pictured: New plans will have to consider the island's mental health needs, the Chief Minister noted in his report.
Discussions among States Members also saw agreement that specifications should “not weigh heavily on the need for staff accommodation on the same site” and that both green and brownfield sites should be considered.
“Privately owned land (greenfield or currently developed) should also be explored for possible sites, albeit quickly. These sites could be included to create a final shortlist of five or six locations,” the Chief Minister’s report read.
There was also said to be general consensus that the current Gloucester Street site is “too small” and that any new site should have the capacity for future expansion.
The potential for an emergency unit in town and a hospital separately outside of town was also discussed.
Overseeing the project will be a government Steering Group led by Chief Executive Charlie Parker, who will work alongside the Director Generals for Health and Community Services, Treasury, GHE (Growth, Housing and Environment), the Director of Regulation and the Director of Communications.
Pictured: Chief Executive Charlie Parker will chair a Steering Group.
Meanwhile, the project will also have political oversight in the form of a group chaired by Senator Lyndon Farnham.
When asked by Express whether PFI was being considered, a government spokesperson responded: “The One Gov report mentioned the establishment of an investment fund, which would create a joint investment vehicle with internationally-recognised funders. These could be from Jersey (eg banks, investment houses etc), to enable the Government to tackle some long-term infrastructure issues. This option is being developed through some feasibility work through 2019, but no decisions have been made on the outcome of the work.
“A private finance initiative is different. It’s a method of providing funds for major capital investments, where private firms are contracted to complete and manage public projects. The project is then leased to the public, and the government authority makes annual payments to the private company.”
Senator Le Fondré commented following the release of his long-awaited report on the next steps for the future hospital: “In considering these new proposals, I have sought the views of States Members and advice from senior officials. We plan to draw on any relevant information already gathered by the previous project team, and to take account of more recent developments in Jersey’s health care model.
“We will create new governance and oversight arrangements, which will ensure appropriate political leadership, scrutiny and sign-off, without incurring intractable delays in delivering this crucial infrastructure.”
Pictured: The Chief Minister Senator John Le Fondré released his report prior to the Bank Holiday on Friday afternoon.
He continued: “Working with the Environment Minister, we will establish a proper ‘public interest test’, to ensure that appropriate weight is given to the sometimes competing interests involved in determining site selection. We will also ensure that the new Island Plan specifically allows for the designation of a new hospital.
“The proposed timeline is ambitious, but if we all get behind the process it should be possible to deliver this within 20 months. If we all agree that this is a priority and work together, we can then deliver a completed hospital in a similar timescale to that of the previous scheme.”
Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.