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Key players share first reactions to £30k hospital review

Key players share first reactions to £30k hospital review

Tuesday 01 November 2022

Key players share first reactions to £30k hospital review

Tuesday 01 November 2022


The news that a review of the Our Hospital Project has proposed a new phased multiple-site option centred around Gloucester Street, Overdale and Les Quennevais has been met with both praise and criticism.

The potential change in direction - which will ultimately be a decision for the States Assembly - has been meet with delight, derision and caution in equal measure.

Here's what some of the key players had to say...

Infrastructure Minister, Deputy Tom Binet

Leader of the £30,000 hospital review

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“This is a common-sense approach which de-risks the building of a new hospital. Under the previous scheme, we could have built half of the hospital and then run into difficulties, but a phased approach is much more manageable.

“Am I disappointed that only between £100m and £170m savings have been identified? Not at all. That is a considerable sum of money but sensible risk management is, for me, the key factor.

“It’s always difficult to gauge the reaction of the Assembly and most questions are asked by a small number of Members but, overall, I would say that the updated plan was welcomed by most Members today.”


Deputy Lyndon Farnham

Previously political lead on the Our Hospital Project

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“This hospital review is vague and largely subjective. It is light on detail and presents little evidence to underpin its findings. It offers no guarantees on savings and ignores other important financial facts. 

“It is also clear that with the delay caused by the new Government, the proposed scheme will take at least twice as long – eight years - to complete compared to the current approved scheme which could be fully operational by the end of 2026.”

He added: “Given the fact that the suggested figure of £635m does not include contingencies for inflation and optimism bias, there are no guarantees that the scheme will be delivered for less money than the approved plan.

“How has the review come to its figure? It has not stated what will be reduced and what services could be compromised. With the rate of construction inflation, and with the review proposing building in three stages over eight years, there is a realistic possibility that we will end up with smaller hospital over number of sites for more money.

“They must stop playing hospital roulette and get the hospital built as soon as possible. Any delay will only cost more money.”

“It is simply not true that current scheme is unaffordable. There has been quite a lot of scaremongering. The island can easily afford £800m, or even more, on the most important building in modern times. 

The island is expecting tax revenues of tens of billions of pounds over the next 40 years. Are we saying we can’t afford to invest £800m or even £1 billion in our healthcare? It is disingenuous to say it is unaffordable.

“Just 10% of our capital spending over 40-50 years would pay for the hospital several times over. The Chief Minister and Infrastructure Minister need to be honest: they want to spend less than the £804m but they cannot guarantee that their plan will cost £635m. 

“Meanwhile, patients are cared for in substandard and inappropriate facilities.” 

 

Peter Funk

Interim chair of the Friends of Our New Hospital pressure group

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"The good news is that the Our Hospital Project plans have been stopped. 

"The moderate good news is that a new and more feasible project is underway.

"The bad news is that all of this will take time to develop and we don’t really know the schedule.

"And the real concern is the fact we have no clear idea on cost.

"In all fairness, reviews of this nature take time so it’s no surprise if more detail needs to come.

"Previous reports by WS Atkins, KPMG and others have identified the health needs of the island, based on its population and the incidences of illness etc, and it is not yet clear if these needs are met by what is proposed in the updated hospital plans.

"What I do know is that the Friends of Our New Hospital will continue to make helpful suggestions, as we have done all along."

 

Advocate Olaf Blakeley

Westmount resident, who campaigned against Our Hospital project

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“I am very pleased at the outcome on the review because I was deeply concerned about the unnecessary destruction of the environment at and around Overdale. Also, the idea to have multiple sites for healthcare is a very sensible one.

“Having a hospital with an accident and emergency department in town is also clearly sensible. I was always concerned about access to a hospital at the top of Westmount Road, which is served by narrow roads.

“I also always had concerns about the size and scale of the proposed development at Overdale. With a multiple-site solution, whatever is developed there will be much smaller.

“Yes, much of the money that has been spent will be wasted but it would be foolish to blindly proceed with a flawed project. It is better that that money is written off to ensure we get the right hospital for the island.”

David Ng

Consultant Gastroenterologist

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Pictured: Dr Ng giving evidence to the Our Hospital planning inquiry.

“After years, tens of thousands of consultation hours, two democratic votes in the States, three independent planning inquiries and £100m spent, the single hospital site at Overdale was eventually passed. 

“Now we have a new Chief Minister asking one Infrastructure Minister to ask one man over 100 days with barely 1,000 hours of consultation, to take us back ten years and start again.

“The report is almost exclusively talking about cost, with little detail of how their two-site solution will impact patients and healthcare staff. 

“The current building, worker morale and healthcare in Jersey is near collapse. We are working very hard to near exhaustion to maintain high quality care for Jersey, and this is another kick in the teeth. Working with building noise and dust will add to the burden on staff and impact patient recovery. 

“We have more nursing and staff vacancies than ever before, we can’t discharge medically fit patients back to their homes because community healthcare workers are paid less than hospitality. 

“We can barely staff our current hospital; two sites will stretch us to breaking point. It is not future proofed, it will be unworkable and unsafe unless these fundamental issues are VERY urgently addressed, and put on an equal priority as the sites of the hospital. 

“What the report purports to be cost savings will, in fact, be swallowed up buying duplicate equipment, and necessary increase in staff from healthcare to maintenance staff. It’s a false economy and will cost more than the £806m currently democratically approved. And take longer. 

“And there’s no clear evidence that they will listen to clinicians’ concerns. Some politicians have said we don’t know what we are talking about.”

Michael de la Haye OBE

Former Greffier of the States and resident off Tower Road 

“My initial reaction is that the review suggests a very sensible way forward. 

“I was pleased to note that the environmental damage that the previous scheme would have caused has been recognised in the review and hopefully the development that will now take place at Overdale will be of a scale that is far more suitable for the site than the previous plan. 

“It also looks likely that the changes to Westmount Road will no longer be needed, which is to be welcomed.”

Constable Simon Crowcroft

Constable of St. Helier

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“Although I didn’t get the clarity I had hoped for on Westmount Road, it is moving in the right direction. It appears that the Government is now considering the collateral damage that would have been caused seriously.

“There has been no follow up on the compulsory purchase orders and I am extremely optimistic that the parish assets will remain for the benefit of parishioners and the wider public.

“I was particularly concerned for the residents of the Westmount apartments and also for the Jersey Bowling Club, who have had the Sword of Damocles hanging over them for far too long.

“We will wait to see what is in the proposition which Deputy Binet has said is forthcoming but I feel we are getting there.

"I was never against the principle of a single hospital at Overdale, as I have said many times, but the plans for Westmount Road would have caused misery for far too many people."

READ MORE...

Our Hospital(s)? Gov review proposes multi-site solution

FOCUS: How much more “affordable” would a multi-site hospital be?

TIMELINE: What happens next with the multi-site hospital plan?

Les Q could be a mini-hospital for 25 years... for an extra £2m

Bowls club and road "likely" to stay, if multi-site hospital plan accepted 

ANALYSIS: A decade of (in)decision

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