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"We Need A New Hospital To Do Our Jobs Properly"

David Ng outside St Paul's Centre, where the hospital planning inquiry is taking place.

A Jersey doctor who has led the calls for a new hospital says a new facility is desperately needed to do their jobs properly - which are to save lives.

David Ng will put forward his case to the planning inquiry at St Paul's Centre this evening (6 April).

He was joined by a group of other health professionals to walk from the Parade Entrance to St Paul's yesterday (5 April) to try and speak at the inquiry, but he was told he had to wait until today.

"We need a structure which is fit for purpose which this one isn't because, certainly in my field, we don't have the capacity to look after and diagnose all the cancers that are coming through and the problem is we're delaying the diagnosis and the problem with that is you have (a) poor prognosis and a greater death rate.

What we need is a new hospital to be able do our job properly - to save lives.

To talk about the height of a building (and) the aesthetics of a building is nonsense because the interior of the building, the people who work in it (and) the people who are sick in it are the most important.

It doesn't matter what it looks like, as long as the inside is functional, safe, clean, and future-proof.

The current hospital - we've had deaths because of Covid. We haven't been able to contain a Covid patient away from a non-Covid patient and as a consequence, that one patient has infected the whole ward and the whole ward then suffers and people have died because they've come in for non-Covid reasons and died because of Covid.

The inquiry started this week and can be watched online here.

It is assessing the planning application against the policies set out in the Island Plan.

Independent Planning Inspector Philip Staddon will deliver his report within four to six weeks, with the Environment Minister due to announce a final decision on whether to grant permission in late May or early June.

Dr. Andrew Mitchell has offered his support to the application.

He says morale is already low and will get worse if the application gets turned down.

"We've got a budget, we've got plans, we as clinicians have spent an enormous amount of time on this.

I've been doing this for nearly ten years and my fear is if this is rejected, it's going to get pushed down the line, it's going to cost us a lot more in the future, and we might not find a contractor who wants to come to Jersey to do it."

Other members of staff in the hospital have also pleaded for the Overdale application to be granted.

That includes Ursula O'Brien, who has worked in the Gloucester Street hospital for nearly 26 years.

"We have no storage, beds are beside each other so we're non-compliant with infection control best practice guidelines.

We've done some wards up to try and improve the standard but the noise and the disruption when that's going on is really impacting on patients and impacting on staff.

If that were to happen for the next three years, I don't think you would have any staff left."

The application to build at Overdale was submitted in November 2021.

Since then, the planning department and the Historic Environment Team have both confirmed their opposition to the plans.

The demolition of Overdale Hospital was blocked by Jersey's Planning Committee in February.

Senator Lyndon Farnham, the politician leading the new hospital project, said after that decision that it was never the intention to demolish any Overdale buildings until full planning permission is given.

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