12 May 2020
Statement by Senator Lyndon Farnham, Deputy Chief Minister and Chair of the Our Hospital Political Oversight Group, given to the States Assembly today:
The ‘Our Hospital’ project remains a priority for Jersey.
While many things have been affected by the current pandemic, the need for a new hospital has not.
Our tremendous Health staff continue to work in challenging conditions and we owe it to them, as well as all Islanders, to keep pressing ahead with our promise to deliver Jersey a new hospital.
But doing so during the Covid-19 outbreak has brought its own set of challenges.
While there is no change to the overall timeline and delivery date of the building, the virus has impacted on some of the more immediate work of the project, most notably the efforts to appoint a preferred delivery partner and to identify a suitable site.
For this reason, some of the announcements that were due to be made at the end of last month have now been delayed, and the Political Oversight Group felt it important to give Members an update.
Understandably, there are tremendous demands on clinicians’ time at present and it is vital that the project does not move on without their input.
We have said all along that this project will be clinically led, and it is important that we stick with that principle.
The appointment process for the Design and Delivery Partner is, rightly, undergoing further scrutiny.
As the landscape has changed considerably, it is vital that more work is done to ensure that the shortlist of bidders we have to design and build our new hospital are still in a position to deliver the project.
We are therefore looking in more detail at their proposals, as well as their financial stability and capability to begin work in such challenging times.
We also need to take into account the emerging Jersey Care Model brief, which will guide, but not dictate, the final outcome of the ‘Our Hospital’ project and to make sure that we remain aligned, both in terms of our aspirations and our understanding of what modern future health care needs look like.
And we have also changed our planning approach – instead of presenting an outline planning application in March 2021, we will now move to a full detailed planning application in September 2021. The advice received, from our colleagues in GHE, suggests a timetable for planning consent that gives us a start date of March 2022, a few months before the next elections.
Using this approach means we will reduce the time needed to be spent on a pre-application and will ensure that we get it absolutely right first time.
Our new adjusted timetable, which I reiterate does not impact the final delivery date of the new hospital, means we will be able to announce our shortlist of sites, and our appointed delivery partner, by mid-July.
It is a short delay, but one which I am sure colleagues will understand and support to enable us to deliver on our commitment to build Our New Hospital.