NOW that planning permission has been approved for the new hospital at Overdale, Jersey ‘must get this done’, the departing Health Minister has said.
‘What we are planning now at Overdale delivers an excellent hospital,’ said Deputy Richard Renouf. ‘I support it. We mustn’t go back because there is no perfect solution to this. There are no simplistic answers and some people think it is all very simple.’
But Deputy Renouf said he feared Jersey had not seen the end of the indecision and second-guessing.
‘It’s a great step forward but it is not necessarily the end of the road because I know there are still people saying we shouldn’t proceed with it, that it’s too expensive, and some are even talking about going back to a two-site option, with some facilities as Gloucester Street and some up at Overdale,’ he said. ‘It doesn’t work operationally having your activities spread around two sites.’
Deputy Renouf said that the delays on the planned £800 million hospital had taken their toll on hospital staff.
‘To then tell them all we are changing our minds, we are going back to some other iteration of a plan would, I think, completely demoralise our clinical staff,’ he added. ‘Unnecessarily so because when you think about the investment in Overdale, which will last for generations, it is a good investment.
‘We must really get this done. When it is open, Islanders will just marvel at the facilities, which we have not seen in the Island before and which can be seen in modern hospitals all over the UK.’
Deputy Renouf said: ‘It’s the age-old problem in Jersey. We try to achieve a perfect solution so when something does not quite work, we scrap it and start again. Previous plans would have delivered a good hospital.’