Chief Minister has hospital ‘concerns’

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Two reports – one from independent planning inspector Philip Staddon and one from the policy development board reviewing the project – are expected to be published within weeks.

And Chief Minister John Le Fondré has reiterated that any final decision on the site of the new hospital will be referred back to the States Assembly for final approval.

Speaking at a scrutiny panel hearing on Friday, Senator Le Fondré – who has previously championed the Waterfront as the site for the new hospital – said that he was still concerned about potential disruption during construction on the current site.

However, he added that he would be happy to move forward with the scheme should the reviews find the current site is the best option.

Meanwhile, during the hearing, Assistant Chief Minister Chris Taylor, who chairs the policy development board, said that some of the original decision-making had not been backed up by evidence.

He said the board had been set up to review the decision-making processes which had led to the current application.

And while he did not reveal full details of his panel’s findings, he indicated that at least one site option had been removed from consideration without the input of key hospital staff.

He said: ‘When you make a decision, if the evidence supports that decision, then it holds true. You may not like or agree with it but you can understand it. We have found a number of decisions that have been made without evidential support. Our job is to weigh that up.

‘It doesn’t mean necessarily that the decision is wrong, just that it was made without evidence. For example, in 2013, Warwick Farm was ruled out due to the additional time for blue light services to get there but the Ambulance Service told us they weren’t consulted until 2015. If they weren’t consulted until 2015, how could that decision have been made in 2013?’

Senator Le Fondré also said that the new Council of Ministers had not formally discussed the hospital project yet.

He said: ‘’Ultimately, the Council of Ministers will have to have a significant discussion pending the outcome of Chris Taylor’s board review and what happens to the planning permission.

‘We are a little bit premature because we can’t talk about the work of the board until they finalise their submission. My personal view remains unchanged.

‘I do remain concerned about the disturbance caused to patients. Ultimately, that will be a matter for the Council of Ministers to discuss.’

He added: ‘I have reservations about the current site. If someone comes back, and says it is absolutely fine, then we can press on. If someone says there are issues, I am agnostic as to where an alternative site is.’

The panel was comprised of Deputies Kevin Pamplin and Mary Le Hegarat and Constable John Le Maistre.

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