New Jersey hospital site debate rekindled after report

image captionThe report cites a senior doctor who calls the new hospital project "a political mess"

Plans for Jersey's new hospital could put patients at risk and may not be fit for future expansion, according to a report.

The findings have reignited the debate on where the hospital should be built.

The island's previous government wanted to spend £466m to build the facility on the existing hospital site.

Politicians now say they want the decision overturned, but the move is opposed by the island's health minister Deputy Richard Renouf.

So far £25.6m or 5.4% of the budget for the project has been spent on planning, compulsory purchases, design, impact studies and business cases.

On 9 April, members of Jersey's States Assembly voted not to review alternative sites again.

However, a new report commissioned by Jersey's Chief Minister John Le Fondre about the original decision has suggested a rethink.

Of the six politicians on the Hospital Policy Development Board, the report said only one - Deputy Renouf - was in favour of keeping the current plans.

The majority said Jersey's States Assembly should consider building the hospital on the Waterfront area in St Helier or at Overdale Hospital.

Timeline: Jersey's new hospital

image copyrightStates of Jersey
image captionBuilding the new hospital is the largest capital project undertaken by the island's government so far
  • 2012 - Planning for the new hospital begins
  • Feb 2016 - A public consultation is held for five potential sites and Jersey's Council of Ministers concludes the existing site is the best option
  • Dec 2016 - The site for the new hospital, the same site as the existing hospital on Gloucester Street in St Helier, is agreed by States members
  • Nov 2017 - Comptroller and Auditor General investigates the decision to select the hospital site for future development; Karen McConnell said she was concerned arrangements for making the decision were "poor" and took "too long"
  • Dec 2017 - States Members agree to pay £466m for the hospital through a mix of borrowing and savings
  • Jan 2018 - A planning application is submitted for the hospital, but rejected after several concerns were raised by an independent inspector
  • April 2018 - A revised planning application is submitted
  • November 2018 - Hospital Policy Board releases report criticising the reasons other site options were discounted for the new hospital

The board said patients "would be safe" while building took place on the current site, but could suffer with "noise, dust and disturbance".

It also claimed the island's Council of Ministers acted on information the Waterfront was "too valuable" a site to use, but did not verify this.

Constable Chris Taylor, who chaired the board, also expressed concerns current plans were not "future-proofed" due to the restrictions of the current site.

"If a larger site is selected as an alternative...then future expansion of the hospital is less constrained," he said.

Deputy Renouf said: "I remain committed to delivering the best possible hospital for Jersey to serve generations for years to come."

The island's politicians are expected to reopen a debate on the new hospital site in January.

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