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£845K to kickstart new hospital project agreed

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THE first slice of funding to kickstart the relaunched hospital project totalling £845,000 has been agreed – and a new interim clinical director has been appointed on a £1,000-a-day two-year contract.

General Hospital viewed from a property in West Park Avenue, St Helier Picture: ROB CURRIE. (25396242)

Earlier this year, Chief Minister John Le Fondré indicated that £2.6 million would be allocated towards the first phase of a revised project to deliver the £466 million facility.

Professor Ashok Handa, who will act as clinical director for the revamped ‘Our Hospital’ team, is an associate professor of surgery at Oxford University and consultant vascular surgeon at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

The professor, who takes up his new role in Jersey with immediate effect, is due to work here for three days a week on consultations and advising the project team on the design of the new hospital.

It is planned that the first phase will take eight to nine months to complete, with the work due to include putting together the business case and the site selection. A further £4.8 million is earmarked for the second phase, which should take 11 months.

The project has been besieged by setbacks with two planning applications submitted and rejected before the States agreed to rescind the decision to build on the existing hospital site. This meant writing off £27 million of costs for the project, which have so far exceeded £40 million.

Alternative sites for consideration now include St Saviour’s Hospital, the Waterfront and Overdale Hospital, with a return to Gloucester Street also still not ruled out.

The new team in charge is due to include a project director, health planner/clinical lead, clinical design team, legal/procurement advisers, a communications lead, financial/economic advisers and site assessment advisers.

John McInerney, group medical director for the Health and Community Services Department, said: ‘This is a critical role for the new hospital project, as it provides an expert link between the Island community, all our HCS partners and those who are designing the hospital to be integral to a new model of health and care in Jersey. Professor Handa brings significant experience and expertise in this field, and his appointment will provide positive impetus to the project.’

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Professor Handa has been involved in the design of hospital developments in the Princess Royal Hospital in Sussex and the John Radcliffe Hospital.

He said: ‘I am delighted to be appointed to this important clinical lead role in advising on the planning and delivery of Jersey’s new hospital, which is so urgently needed. I will work closely with the Island’s clinicians and with wider healthcare providers, to ensure that the new hospital is fit for both current needs and those for future generations.’

In his report to the States Assembly on 3 May, Chief Minister John Le Fondré set out the process for establishing the clinical requirements of the new hospital, for shortlisting potential locations and for agreeing a site after public engagement.

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
author

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