Six-month Clinique Pinel delay is ‘unacceptable’

A SOLUTION to the ‘unacceptable’ six-month delay to the completion of a dedicated acute mental-health facility at Clinique Pinel needs to be prioritised by government, a backbench politician has said.

Clinique Pinel, part of the St Saviour Hospital complex  Picture: MATTHEW HOTTON.REF:00755768.jpg p4. (31854566)
Clinique Pinel, part of the St Saviour Hospital complex Picture: MATTHEW HOTTON.REF:00755768.jpg p4. (31854566)

Senator Steve Pallett said Jersey was in the middle of a mental-health crisis and that the delay – which has been partly attributed to staff shortages in the construction sector – was putting pressure on facilities which were already at breaking point and ‘not fit for purpose’.

Health Minister Richard Renouf recently revealed that the facility was not expected to be completed until 9 September 2022, despite originally having been scheduled for completion at the end of January.

This is the second delay to the project, which was pushed back by five weeks earlier this year after bad weather was said to have hampered construction.

The £7.3 million project will extend and remodel the space to create 26 en-suite bedrooms, a place of safety on the ground floor, eight ‘overspill’ bedrooms and a tribunal suite and training facility on the first floor.

Senator Pallett, who previously held political responsibility for mental health, said: ‘The delay is unacceptable. We have a mental-health crisis and a clear need for better facilities, yet Islanders are being let down by the government. I cannot stress enough how important it is that this facility is built on time.

‘People are struggling to find the help they need and we are not doing well enough to support them.

‘Services like the Listening Lounge cannot take the whole weight of the Island’s mental-health problem on their shoulders.

‘Orchard House is not fit for purpose and the delay is putting pressure on our services, which are short-staffed and under-resourced.

‘I know that Covid and Brexit have played their part in causing delays but we have to do better than we are currently doing, and the government has got to get it together.’

Replying to a written States question that was tabled by Senator Pallett, Deputy Renouf said: ‘Additional works have been required to remedy a number of legacy issues relating to the existing building structure and essential upgrade works to address safeguarding issues that were identified once the building was vacated.’

He added: ‘The contractor has cited the current spike in construction work and construction costs as a principal reason for not being able to secure sufficient labour.’

Deputy Renouf said that ‘most of the ground floor’ of Clinique Pinel would be ready by March 2022. He said that would provide 20 of the 26 en-suite bedrooms and the ‘place of safety’.

He added: ‘The intention is to transfer existing staff into the facility so no specific recruitment processes are required.’

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