Hospital: Cutting the costs equals cutting the delays

Letter to the Editor from Mary Venturini, St John.

Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (31728788)
Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (31728788)

IN the debate about the new hospital at Overdale, facts and figures are flying around. In order to make sense of the whole subject, here is an easy-to-follow guide for the ordinary person.

The government could cut the costs by scrapping the Westmount Road build. This would save about £40 million, although the government has never bothered to give us the real figure. Then there would be no need for the relocation of the bowling green. That would save another £1 million. If there were no more property purchases, that would save £34 million. Stop the Les Quennevais reconversion from an old school to a medical facility and they would save about £17 million. Cut the outrageously expensive team of government advisers and save about £39 million. Cut the contingencies of £108 million for both client and construction company by going out to tender. Total savings £239 million.

Subtract this from the £804.5 million that the government is telling us it needs to build the new hospital and you have £565.5 million. This is almost exactly what the Future Hospital Review Panel amendment to Proposition 80/2021 is asking the States Assembly to do in the vote on 5 October.

And why is the government still blaming everyone except its own team for what it calls delays. Hasn’t it understood yet that the delays are all of its own making? Hasn’t it realised that unless it gets its plans in perfect order, the planning application is likely to be shot down. And then who will be responsible for the delays?

If the hospital team cuts the Westmount Road project, there would be no need for those controversial plans in the overall application, or for a bowling club application in due course. If they stopped the Les Quennevais rezoning application, that would save time too. If there were no more property purchases, that would mean less time (and money) in litigation. If there were fewer government advisers on the team, there would be fewer long reports, inaccurate figures and less bureaucracy. If there were lower contingencies and the government put the hospital build out to tender, there would be greater efficiency and less time wasted.

So, cutting the costs equals cutting the delays, not adding to them. If the hospital team had not been so careless with its planning in the first place, a new hospital could be well under way by now.

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