The new hospital ‘would have room to expand’, says minister
FLEXIBILITY and the ability to expand in the future have been built into the future hospital design, the Health Minister has said.
Deputy Richard Renouf has spoken out once again in defence of building the new facility on the current site, saying that comments that the scheme should be rejected because the plot is ‘too small and not fit for purpose’ are ‘not supported by evidence’.
The site of the future hospital has prompted much public and political debate since it was announced that the Island needed a new facility in 2012. Several shortlists have been drawn up and scrapped but in December 2016 the States Assembly finally agreed for the future hospital to be built on the current site.
However, the project was once again thrown into turmoil last year when Chief Minister John Le Fondré said he was going to lodge a proposition asking States Members whether they endorsed the site decision made by the previous Assembly. To date, he still has not done so.
In the meantime Islanders who have spoken out in opposition to the plans have been in contact with AIA Life Designers, a French architectural firm, which claims it could build a new hospital in Jersey on a greenfield site for £90 million.
On Wednesday, the JEP revealed that AIA had visited Jersey to study three previously shortlisted sites for the scheme – St Saviour’s Hospital, Warwick Farm and Overdale Hospital – and has since offered to carry out a feasibility study of the plots for £60,000.
However, in a letter published on page 12 of today’s JEP Deputy Renouf says work to build a ‘first-class hospital on the approved site’ must get under way ‘without further delay’.
He adds that both in his role as Health Minister and member of the Hospital Policy Development Board he has reviewed the evidence and thinks it shows the site has ‘sufficient merit to be progressed’.
The letter says: ‘Flexibility and expansion are built into the hospital design. To maintain our high-quality general hospital services we shouldn’t aim to mirror our existing service, but to work differently in facilities that reflect the future needs of staff and patients.
‘In a project that has been going since 2012, it is always possible to identify things we might have done differently, but there is no perfect site.’
The letter adds that the Island needs a new hospital ‘urgently’ and that the needs of patients and staff should be put first. ‘To do this we need to work together to safely deliver a first-class hospital on the approved site without further delay,’ the letter ends.