Islanders asked to suggest a hospital site... or is it just a 'paper job'?
ISLANDERS are being invited to suggest possible sites for the new hospital – but a politician involved in the project has described it as ‘more of a paper job’.
People are being given six weeks to make their suggestions, which will be added to the 41 sites previously considered and assessed against a set of criteria, including whether the site is big enough.
Specialist health planners are currently determining the minimum size requirements for the facility in light of the ongoing Jersey Care Model review, which is looking at which services could be offered outside the hospital in the community.
Assistant Health Minister Hugh Raymond has told the JEP that his team was ‘obliged to be seen to consider’ the sites which were suggested in the previous hospital project.
He added that he was reluctant to spend more money on a further consultation about where the hospital should be and that he hoped to have a shortlist of ‘four or five’ prospective sites in January.
He said: ‘The daft thing is that we have to look at all sites, but what we don’t want to do is go back and waste time looking at them all again.
‘I definitely don’t want to spend any more money on this, but we need to be seen to reconsider the sites – it’s more of a paper job.’
His comments were followed by a statement from the government, in which Deputy Raymond is quoted as saying it plans to leave ‘no stone unturned’ in the search for the right location.
The statement says that possible sites, including those suggested by Islanders, will be considered in the new year and a preferred option is due to be decided upon by September.
‘Although the final site will not be chosen for some months yet, it is important that we start looking at possible sites in the new year,’ Deputy Raymond is quoted as saying. ‘By inviting the public to make suggestions, we are leaving no stone unturned in our search for the best possible location for our new hospital.
‘All the suggestions we receive will be added to the 41 sites from the previous project, so we have a complete list of possible sites for Jersey’s new hospital.’
He adds: ‘We understand that the public may be frustrated that we are reviewing sites that had already been considered and rejected by the previous project, but we need to be thorough and demonstrate that we aren’t ruling anything out without proper consideration. Once we have a list of all potential locations for the hospital, the process of elimination will move very quickly indeed, until we are down to our preferred site by September next year.
‘We will be keeping the public updated throughout the process about which sites have been removed from the process and explaining why in each case.’
Initial plans for an eight-floor building on the existing site were lodged in June 2017. However, the planning application was rejected by then-Environment Minister Steve Luce who said the size and scale of the proposals were not in keeping with the town landscape.
A second application – again on Gloucester Street – was rejected in January by Environment Minister John Young, prompting the States Assembly to overturn the agreed site selection, effectively returning the project to square one. As yet, no new site has been identified.
Up to that point around £41 million had been spent on the project – at least £27 million of which had to be written off. The JEP has asked for up-to-date spending figures for the hospital project.
To suggest a site for the new hospital visit gov.je/ourhospital. The closing date for submissions is Friday 24 January.
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