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'Unaffordable' Hospital Plan Scrapped

The planned £800m+ new hospital is 'no longer an option' because it's 'just not affordable'. The government will now look again at it remaining on Gloucester Street.

Infrastructure Minister Deputy Tom Binet has confirmed the controversial Overdale development - in its current form - is off the table.

He's made the comments in interviews to reveal details of the scope of the Our Hospital Review Project ordered by the new Chief Minister.

As part of the work, building has been halted on the Andium Homes' Kensington Place site and ownership of the land is being transferred to the government.

106 affordable one-bedroom flats were due to be constructed there as part of Andium's target to deliver 3,000 homes by 2030.

Deputy Binet says 'they just won't be built.'

"If we want Gloucester Street to be an option, it's a critical part of the site. If we take that away it would make building very difficult. So we're in a no-win situation where if we build the flats we help the housing market, but if we don't we leave the site open for the hospital."

Plans to build the hospital at Gloucester Street have been knocked back twice already by Planning, first in 2018 and then again in 2019.

The Hospital Project saw several sites being considered, but Deputy Binet says this is no longer the case.

"We can't afford to turn the clock back that far. It would be unfeasible and unacceptable from a public point of view."

A combination of both a Overdale and Gloucester Street site is also now an option again.

More than £50m has been spent so far on the long-running wrangle over how to replace the island's ageing health care facilities.

The Overdale development got planning permission in May.

Former Environment Minister Deputy John Young gave consent following an independent inquiry.  The inspector, Philip Staddon, has said the benefits of the new facility outweighs the harms.

The States Assembly agreed to borrow up to £756m to pay for it.  Since then, the cost of borrowing as risen.

In her previous role as head of Scrutiny, the now Chief Minister had attempted to cut the budget of the project by £250 million and cap borrowing at £400 million.  Kristina Moore believed the size and scale of the project was not justified.

Announcing the review process, Deputy Moore said:

“This is an important milestone in the Our Hospital Project and the 100 Day Actions. Care will be taken to ensure that the development incorporates provision of delivery space for an appropriate range of health and care service for Jersey, contributes to a ‘whole system’ of healthcare, addresses future care needs, is aligned to evidence-based models of care, and includes opportunities for innovation and digital methods of care delivery.”

The Our Hospital Project review, which is part of the government's 100 day action plan, will be brought back to the States Assembly by the 20 October.

A Principal Expert Adviser with experience of large healthcare capital projects will soon be appointed to support the review team, which comprises Deputy Binet, Health Minister Karen Wilson and Assistant Health Minister Rose Binet.

Acting Project Director Jessica Hardwick has replaced the UK-based interim Project Director.

The review will:

  • Assess the affordability of the current project,

  • Consider the state of the existing hospital and associated heath and care facilities,

  • Consider measures currently being undertaken to improve and transform Jersey’s health service during this period,

  • Examine various options from “a scope, operational efficiency, cost, programme, and local economic impacts perspective, including, but not limited to all existing sites, which include Overdale site; Gloucester Street site, including adjacent sites, such as Kensington Place; opportunities for a longer-term phased development at Overdale or Gloucester Street; and the opportunity to use secondary sites to complement the delivery of health and care from a primary hospital location.”

Campaigners have welcomed news of the existing incarnation of the Overdale development being taken off the table:

"Common Sense...AT LAST! Thank you Minister Tom Binet!! While not as 'glamourous' as a shiny (but fatally flawed) new HUGE building or effective at filling the pockets of Charlie Parker's cronies (which the prior COM was so eager to do)...our new COM have taken a tough but sensible decision to live within economic reality and the fiscal means of Jersey amidst all the other competing priorities for our tax money by moving to the 2 SITE HOSPITAL OPTION of Gloucester and Overdale." - Guardians of Westmount Road & People's Park

However, Deputy Lyndon Farnham, who lead the new hospital project under the previous administration, says its a bad move;

 

 

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