MSG Defends Planned Premises Move

11th October 2017

The Medical Specialist Group has defended its plans to move from its location near the hospital towards the centre of town.

The MSG has told us its planned Park Street premises would provide ‘excellent facilities for patients’ and there would be ample parking.

In a statement – which you can read in full below – the Medical Specialist Group’s Chairman says it was surprised and disappointed when the Committee for Health and Social Care raised concerns about the potential move.

The MSG is currently based behind Jeffreys at Les Frieteaux where it occupies Alexandra House, Mill House and the Coach House. It also offers some services at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital.

The MSG says there would be parking for patients behind its proposed new premises at Park Place, and that doctors would take ‘perhaps two minutes by car rather than one minute’ to get to the hospital for visits than they currently do.

If the move goes ahead, it may happen in early 2018 as the lease for Alexandra House is due to run out at the end of this year.

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The MSG’s initial press statement on the matter was positive when it was released earlier this week:

An application has been made to the Development & Planning Authority to enable the Medical Specialist Group to move their primary outpatient and clinical administration functions closer to the town centre.

The building in question is Park Place, Park Street, St Peter Port. MSG Chairman, Dr Gary Yarwood, explains why the MSG is looking to make a move from the current premises at Les Frieteaux.

 “The Medical Specialist Group has grown significantly over the years and currently operates from three separate buildings. Some services are based at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital, but the majority of administrative work and outpatient clinics take place on MSG’s premises at Alexandra House, Mill House and the Coach House.

The expiry of the Alexandra House lease at the end of 2017 prompted the need to evaluate our options and consider what is best for the long term interests of the MSG and our patients and staff.

Proximity to the hospital was a primary consideration when looking for possible new premises and Park Place is only 0.8 miles from the PEH – a drive of just over 2 minutes. We have secured parking for 60 staff and consultants within walking distance of the building and so the majority of the 38 on-site parking spaces at Park Place can be designated for patient use.

As Park Place is within walking distance from town and other major offices in the area, we hope the new premises would be more convenient compared to our current location. The building has lift access to all floors and walk-in access on both the ground and first floors. Therefore, accessibility to the building for frail or infirm patients is much improved.

This is an opportunity to bring all of the MSG services under one roof with improved facilities, both clinical and administrative, and in a location close to the PEH.

Any move is contingent upon receiving planning approval, and we hope to hear in the next couple of months. If the planning application is favourable, the MSG would be looking to move into the new premises during the first quarter of 2018.”

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However, the statement led to concerns being raised with the Committee for Health and Social Care among those with questions. In a second statement the MSG Chairman Dr Gary Yarwood responded:

“We were surprised and disappointed to learn that the Committee for Health & Social Care is not supportive of our potential move to Park Place, which we believe would provide excellent facilities for patients.

Their primary concern appears to be the short extra distance from the hospital compared to our current premises, together with a desire to have us located at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital site.  These are separate issues:

Regarding the distance of Park Place from the PEH, we think HSC’s concerns are unfounded as outpatient and inpatient medical care are separate services. It is very rare for us to admit someone to hospital from outpatients and, at 0.8 miles from the PEH, Park Place is a very short distance on those uncommon occasions.

Doctors can only do one thing at a time and we can’t remotely manage ward patients whilst running an outpatient clinic and we can’t see outpatients whilst we’re on the wards.  Therefore the outpatient experience won’t be affected by the marginally increased distance of Park Place from the PEH.

MSG’s staff – the PAs patients talk to, the nurses they see, the receptionists who greet them – are all entirely based on our premises and so the distance from the hospital is immaterial to them.

The only people affected by this short extra distance are the doctors, who will have a marginally increased travelling time between the two sites – perhaps two minutes by car rather than one minute.

We work in sessions, morning and afternoon primarily, and so this boils down to one short journey at lunchtime;  we therefore don’t see this as an issue and we don’t think HSC should be concerned by it.

Regarding having the MSG based on the PEH site, as a long-term aim this is laudable; however our needs would require a major new build and there are many developments that the MSG would prioritise on a benefit for patients basis ahead of this.

Regular watchers of news programmes will be aware that large numbers of NHS hospitals have been rebuilt with PFI (private finance initiative) money and that Jersey is considering a £400M rebuild of its hospital.  Medical advances and the ageing population are constantly putting a strain on hospital infrastructures and the PEH is no exception.

The MSG’s view would be that HSC should prioritise building a larger maternity unit closer to theatres, a larger Critical Care Unit, a bigger Day Patient Unit, a fifth operating theatre, a new orthopaedic ward, enhanced Private Patient facilities and a large central equipment store – all before consideration of new outpatient facilities. 

Therefore, moving to the PEH site is a long-term aim rather than something achievable in the short term. We need to look at new facilities now, that will be suitable for at least the next 10 years and so we don’t believe it is reasonable for HSC to object to Park Place on this basis now.

We have striven to keep HSC abreast of our plans, but we are happy to give them a full appraisal of the facts, along with any other politicians who may wish to learn more.”

 

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