Maternity unit refurbishment will cost £6 million and finish in 2023

REFURBISHING Jersey’s maternity unit will cost £6 million and take two years, the Health Minister has confirmed.

General Hospital. Picture: ROB CURRIE. (30643054)
General Hospital. Picture: ROB CURRIE. (30643054)

Deputy Richard Renouf said work to refurbish the current facility would begin in June and be completed in 2023.

Responding to a query from Deputy Kevin Pamplin at yesterday’s Health and Social Security Scrutiny Panel hearing, Deputy Renouf said the refurbishment would take that long because work had to be phased and take place ‘in situ’ while retaining maternity services at the Hospital.

‘We are moving services to Overdale but that will take five years,’ said Deputy Renouf.

Refurbishment was a ‘realistic option to follow’ and would ‘provide the very best care within the limitations of this [Gloucester Street] building’, he said.

The Health Minister confirmed during the panel hearing that £6 million had been set aside for investment and was accounted for in the departmental budget.

Continuity of care was raised by Deputy Louise Doublet, who said: ‘A significant number of submissions have raised concerns about inconsistency of healthcare professionals that they have seen during pregnancy and after birth. Indeed, some women told us they never saw the same midwife twice’.

She added: ‘The feelings coming out of that is this quite overwhelming feeling of not being supported from some women, and also a touch of a lack of confidence in the delivery of care.’

The Health Minister said he acknowledged how this could give rise to concerns, adding ‘we would not want mothers to be anxious about that’.

Jersey’s chief nurse Rose Naylor said: ‘This is something we are looking to address at the moment within our staffing model for midwives.’

She added the caveat that 2020 had been an ‘extraordinary year’, which had an impact on their ability to provide continuity, but accepted that some of the experiences went beyond last year.

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