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Future hospital statement

02 February 2016

The Health and Social Services Minister, Senator Andrew Green, has made the following statement to the States Assembly about the Future Hospital Project:

"I would like to start by saying sorry both to the Assembly and to Islanders for the length of time it has taken to bring these matters forward. 

Ideally, I would have liked to have been in a position to share what I’m about to tell you much earlier, but it was essential to complete the necessary exhaustive and detailed analysis of the potential sites for the Future Hospital before any formal communication could begin.

Sir, I start by reminding Members that the provision of a new hospital will be the biggest project that the Island has ever contemplated and we must get it right for this and future generations. This is a major decision that will most likely affect all Islanders and we must  be satisfied that the preferred site, when finally selected, provides the best possible hospital that we can afford for the people of Jersey.

The work undertaken so far will provide a sound foundation to take forward a hospital which is safe, sustainable and affordable. 

There will be a period of engagement and consultation with Islanders so that everyone can give their views. I will give more details shortly. 

Urgent need for a new hospital

There are some members of the public - and indeed some in this assembly - who are not convinced that we need a new hospital. Therefore, before confirming the sites I would like to set out why we urgently need a new hospital. 

Looking first at the infrastructure of the current Hospital:-
A detailed independent survey of the condition of the hospital was recently undertaken. It identified a number of key issues across the General Hospital site:

  • The buildings, plant and services are reaching the end of their life, requiring capital investment, major refurbishment or replacement.
  • The clinical environment does not meet current standards, bringing an increased risk of infection.
  • The buildings are either overcrowded or fully utilised. Their energy efficiency is poor and they fall short of current fire code standards (which exist to ensure the safe evacuation of patients).

In summary, the current hospital is beginning to fail to provide an environment within which our excellent staff can provide the standards of healthcare that I believe the people of Jersey deserve and would wish to see continue for themselves and their families.

The care provided by staff is in most instances first class. It is the ageing infrastructure that is letting us down. In the words of one of our medical consultants, our staff are trying to provide a first class service within a Victorian infrastructure.

Meeting complex needs of patients

Of course, patients and their families for the most part don’t see this. It is a credit to our excellent staff at all levels who have been very good at making do. Many years, decades even, of underinvestment must be corrected and corrected soon.

There are many other reasons why we need a new hospital. I will touch in some of them now.

As our society ages, we need to be ready for a larger number of older patients with more complex illnesses – our hospital needs to change to meet these challenges.

Hospital services are changing fast and our hospital needs to meet new demands – the clinical standards required by external regulators will need to be achieved. If we fail to meet these standards we will not gain appropriate accreditation or attract the necessary high quality staff.

Any attempt to upgrade our current General Hospital would cost considerably more and always fall well short of the standards that can be achieved in a new-build hospital.

A new-build hospital can be built much more quickly than refurbishing the current hospital, is cheaper to operate, provides a better long-term solution and avoids major disruption to existing services.

Much of the infrastructure in our current hospital is failing, leading to an increasing risk of break-down and serious disruption to patient care. It is not good value for money to replace it.

Our hospital needs to provide modern, safe, sustainable and affordable healthcare services – we can’t do this in our current hospital.

Provision of health and social services

So, we need a new hospital, but where do we put it?

Members will be aware that extensive public consultation took place in 2012 on the need for a new way of providing health and social services.  This had two key factors:

  • a wide range of new and expanded services in the community and
  • a new hospital, fit for the future – a new hospital ready for the demands placed on it by the changing needs of Islanders.

In addition, in 2013, there was engagement with the public on the previously proposed dual site hospital.
In my manifesto at the last election, I promised to review the  dual site option and report back within 100 days. That was the easy bit, but it was soon very clear that our clinicians had significant reservations about the dual site and that the costs of a two-site hospital were not as financially beneficial as first thought. I was able to advise Members of this in just over the 100 day period.

The next stage

The next stage was to find a site suitable for a new hospital.

To say that finding the best site has been a challenge is an understatement.

40 sites on which to build the new hospital have been reviewed.

We commissioned WS Atkins International plc and Gleeds Management Services to undertake a thorough, professional independent review of their suitability and a short list of sites was produced.

Over the past year, Ministers asked for three sites to be considered in detail, then in July 2015, a fourth site was added. A robust assessment has been undertaken – all sites have been considered in great detail and compared on a like for like basis against the same criteria.

Four possible locations

It is these four locations that I am asking members and Islanders to understand and consider. I am inviting Members and Islanders to come on the journey and to formulate their views based on the evidence that will be put before them.

The four sites are: 

  • Overdale Hospital (100% new build, single-site option)
  • Current General Hospital (new build and refurbishment, single-site option)
  • Waterfront (south side) (100% new build, single-site option)
  • People’s Park (100% new build, single-site option)

There is no perfect site – all have strengths and weaknesses.

Some, inevitably, perform better than others across the range of criteria the experts have used.

We are now going to start a four-week period of public engagement. During this time we will share the detail islanders need to make an informed choice.

The engagement exercise will run from today to the end of February.

Formal public consultation will run from the beginning of March through to the end of April.
During both the engagement and consultation process we will hold public meetings, provide information via social media and on our website, as well as issue consultation documentation.

Given all the information, I trust our public will understand what we are trying to achieve and can then play their part in this once in a lifetime decision.  

Concerns of Islanders

I want to reassure Members of this Assembly that I will be seeking to meet them all individually so I can hear of their particular concerns and those raised by their constituents. 
Of course, I will also arrange visits to the Hospital for Members so that they can see for themselves why we need a new hospital on a new site.

I understand that the Scrutiny Sub-Panel will want to scrutinise the Future Hospital plans closely. I welcome this and now the site selection reports are complete I will be sharing the 1,000-page report and addendum, including commercially confidential data, with the Scrutiny Panel.

At the end of the consultation process, I will come back to the Assembly to share the outcome of the consultation with Islanders. And before the summer recess, the Council of Ministers intends to bring forward a Proposition recommending a preferred site."

Find out more about the Future Hospital

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