‘Our’ new hospital is the vision of a few ministers

Letter to the Editor from Helen Balston, St Helier

What is the budget for the ‘world-class’ project on the Overdale Hospital site? Picture: JON GUEGAN. (31161810)
What is the budget for the ‘world-class’ project on the Overdale Hospital site? Picture: JON GUEGAN. (31161810)

WHICH will end first, the 50-year life span of ‘our hospital’ or all of us and future generations paying for it?

Finally, 70 pages of ‘provisional’ plans etc are (only) online (ourhospital.je ‘Other Project Presentations’, not easily found) after the parish meeting on 9 June so multitudes who could not attend/vote can actually see them (including all four photos of rusting equipment etc, apparently the reason we need a new hospital).

One thing is extremely clear, an unlimited budget with no expense spared, either with unbelievably extensive ongoing works just to compile these pages or with the massive, continuous public relations exercise.

Yes, we do need convincing, but no, we don’t need continuous glossy leaflets posted to every Islander. All this before 30-ish buildings are demolished and vast alterations to the access road begin (all other required roadworks for access roads from the north etc, not mentioned). Years of expense still before any expenditure on ‘our’ hospital.

We are in the midst of unprecedented economic meltdown. Almost 20 ‘extra’ million has already been taken from important projects towards this one ‘world-class’ project, which is hemorrhaging money (will a billion be enough?) yet still it has no budget so apparently this is ok.

‘Our’ hospital is the vision of a few ministers determined to ignore all criticism, not just from the many residents who live within this large area and will be vastly affected (eg roads closed for periods totaling years), but from an increasing number who are realising this impossible, inaccessible, difficult site cannot be built on without many hundreds of extra millions.

Why decide a long list of extremely relevant criteria plus commission expensive experts’ reports to determine the site of ‘our hospital’ then ignore it all? The government itself was insistent upon a ‘one-site’ hospital, but clearly this is not happening at Overdale. The government’s own Planning policy is breached with the height of the planned building (incorporating vast areas of empty space, 50 winters of heating bills).

When will all those other elected politicians, who should be making good decisions for all of us and spending our money wisely, actually disagree with the determined few who are forgetting it is not actually their money and Jersey is supposed to be run democratically?

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