Ministers unveil eight-year plans for hospital

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THE Hospital will be replaced with health facilities at Overdale, Kensington Place and St Saviour’s Hospital, if plans revealed by ministers yesterday are given the go-ahead.

More than a decade after the Island’s needs for a new hospital were first set out, a draft feasibility study has been issued by the government outlining how new facilities would be developed in stages across the next eight years, with the aim of completing the work by the end of 2031.

Under the plans, an acute inpatient hospital would be built at Overdale, with an outpatients’ facility at Kensington Place and Gloucester Street and a new ‘health village’ near St Saviour’s Hospital.

Funding for the first phase of the New Healthcare Facilities programme is due to be debated as part of the Government Plan process in December.

Ministers have listed a series of advantages to pushing ahead with a multi-site approach.

They say that the scheme would be lower-risk in financial and construction terms than a single-site facility, leaving scope for future expansion and key-worker accommodation.

They also highlight smaller buildings than those of previous schemes and the fact that no ‘substantial changes’ would be required to Westmount Road, the Jersey Bowling Club or Westmount Terrace.

Ministers said this was ‘possible because of the predicted reduced traffic movements to the site, given that not all services will be located there’.

Infrastructure Minister Tom Binet said in March that the Jersey Bowling Club had been given ‘99% certainty’ that it would not need to leave its current home on Westmount Road, with the 110-year-old club previously having been destined to move from its historic green to Warwick Farm in order for the road to be straightened, flattened and widened as part of the past government’s Our Hospital project.

But having ruled out the previous scheme, saying it was unaffordable, the government has yet to give any idea of how much its latest proposals would cost. Ministers have been unable to say whether any savings will be made on the £804million price tag for the single-site Overdale plan, which was passed by the previous States Assembly but then placed on hold, and ultimately scrapped, by the new government.

Overdale has now been earmarked as the preferred location for the acute inpatient hospital Picture: DAVID FERGUSON (35922764)

Critics, including members of Reform Jersey and former Deputy Chief Minister Lyndon Farnham, who held political responsibility for the hospital project between 2018 and 2022, have seized on the lack of detailed costings and expressed concern that the eventual bill will surpass the Our Hospital figure.

Two options were outlined at a series of evaluation workshops held in recent weeks, with marks awarded across a series of categories. The preferred option eventually scored 359 points out of a maximum score of 567, more than twice the 178 figure for the alternative scheme, in which the two sites would have retained their existing uses.

The main components of the proposed multi-site solution:

– The acute hospital at Overdale, for which it is hoped planning permission will be achieved by the end of 2023, with construction starting in 2025 and finishing in 2028. Initial indications of the scale of the building are that it would have a maximum height of four storeys, with a clinical storey being around 50% larger than the equivalent in a residential or office building.

– The outpatient facility on the existing Gloucester Street site, also using land at Kensington Place that was formerly occupied by two hotels and then sold to Andium Homes before being brought back into the frame. This site would operate during ‘extended daytime’ hours of approximately 7am to 7pm, with work at Kensington Place starting in 2025 and potentially being completed by 2027, followed by further phases mapped out for a three-year period starting in 2028. A maximum height of four clinical storeys has been indicated, with the project team hoping that this will prove more acceptable than previous schemes.

– The Health Village adjacent to the existing healthcare site at St Saviour, with a field next to Clinique Pinel earmarked for new facilities which could potentially provide services for mental-health and dementia patients, other therapies and a ‘step-down’ facility for patients leaving hospital. The green field has not been earmarked for development in the Bridging Island Plan and would require planning approval.

Most elements of the Health Village would be single-storey, with the remaining buildings having two storeys.

– The Enid Quénault Health and Wellness Centre in the former Les Quennevais School. Work on establishing this facility for the west of the Island is in progress.

Addressing the issue of cost, Treasury Minister Ian Gorst said: ‘We are committed to ensuring that the plans we follow represent the best value for money for Islanders and mitigate the financial risks of developing a single-site hospital with a single contractor.

‘I will be working alongside ministerial colleagues to ensure that the cost proposals brought to the Assembly in the Government Plan present States Members with the most prudent means of delivering multi-site healthcare and provide for the ongoing work on our health estate.’

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