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£466m hospital funding plan agreed

£466m hospital funding plan agreed

Wednesday 13 December 2017

£466m hospital funding plan agreed

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Jersey politicians have finally voted on what many described as the most important decision they would ever take, as they agreed to spend up to £466million on a new hospital, which includes borrowing of up to £275 million.

30 members voted in favour of the funding proposal, with 16 voting against at the end of a two-day debate.

Senator Andrew Green, the Health Minister, warned members that If a decision wasn't made, "...the successful delivery of the project in the short-term period (was) in doubt." He added: "Today is not the time for further delay. Today is the day for approval. Today is the day for action.

"(...)The decision we make today will have a profound effect on the thousands of Islanders in this and future generations. Generations who will benefit from a new build general hospital. But, in the short term, delay will affect all Islanders who require healthcare in what is rapidly becoming an inadequate environment."

The future hospital proposition has been adopted 30-16

— States Assembly (@StatesAssembly) December 13, 2017

While some members agreed with Senator Green on the urgency of making a decision - Deputy Ann Pryke, said: "Doing nothing it not an option. We cannot put off this decision any longer, time has come to make that decision now," - others felt under pressure to approve the scheme. Deputy Simon Bree said the Council of Ministers was in a rush to get the decision through the Assembly adding that "berating members" who were against the funding on the basis they "did not care," did not work. "We all understand the need for a new hospital," he said. 

Deputy Judy Martin urged the Assembly to reject the proposed funding saying: "Don't be persuaded it's Jersey's last chance to get a new hospital. It is not Jersey's, not the people's, but this Council of Ministers' last chance to get this moving." 

Deputy Montfort Tadier also refuted the idea of urgency saying: "If it was so urgent why are we taking the option that takes the longest to build?" He also said he had only heard reasons to vote no from people in architecture, finance and accounting.

St. Lawrence's Constable, Deidre Mezbourian, was one of many members to share her personal experience with the hospital to back the scheme. She told members that when her mother passed away, she was able to do so "in the dignity of her family surrounding her," which not all Islanders are able to due to the layout of the current hospital. She added: "The care of the staff was second to none, the facilities were appalling. It is not what we would want in a modern society. I will be supporting the funding. We need to provide that dignity."


Pictured: Senator MacLean called the decision on the hospital funding the Assembly's most significant.

Deputy John Le Fondré expressed concerns about the level of debt which he said future generations would have to fund. He explained that Brexit was an uncertainty  and that they wouldn't know if they had a problem until five years. 

Summing up at the end of the debate, Treasury Minister Senator Alan Maclean said it was a "critically important decision" and the most significant one the Assembly had been asked to make. 

While the funding has been adopted, the road to the new hospital is still going to be a long one. An independent Planning Inspector is due to hand in a report in January. States members were hopeful this would help resolve issues regarding the actual visual impact the building will have. Various photos have emerged purporting to show the scale of the new development. 

New Hospital Impact

Pictured: Images supplied by campaigner Chris McCarthy, from the environmental impact assessment of the new hospital.

New Hospital

New Hospital

Pictured: Official images of the new hospital supplied as part of the project to date. 

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