Plans to build a new hospital in Jersey could cost taxpayers as much as £100,000 per week if the current timetable is delayed.
The States of Jersey expects to be able to announce the preferred site for the new hospital in September 2020, with planning applications submitted to the Environment Minister in March 2021.
£845,000 has been allocated to fund the project until the end of this year but the States expects that it will cost £7.4 million to complete the 'first phase' of the project, which involves preparing a business case and drawing up the outline planning application.
More than £40 million has already been spent on plans to build a new hospital but a site has never been approved. Peoples Park was ruled out as a site earlier this year, with politicians voting to protect the space for the use of all islanders.
Ministers are also waiting for the approval of the Jersey Care Model, which will inform what kind of hospital the island needs.
Senator Lyndon Farnham, who chairs the Our Hospital Political Oversight Group, says it is vital that the project has transparency.
I hope we can avoid the mistrust that dogged the previous project by working proactively with Scrutiny and States Members throughout the process, and by ensuring that Members remain informed and involved, before any Proposition is brought forward for debate. It is important to keep the project on track as any delays will cost money: the project estimates that each week’s delay during these preparatory stages will mean £100,000 in additional costs.
Deputy Hugh Raymond, the States' Assistant Minister for Health and Social Services and vice chair of the group, says this is an opportunity to deliver the hospital and resolve the situation.
This is a great opportunity to say look, we want people on our side, we want the hospital built. Everybody's had just about enough of the last ten or fifteen years. Let's move forward, lets tell everybody, "let's get people involved. The good thing about it this time is that the majority of the people on the board now are all new. We all have not been party to things that happened before. We don't have any baggage and therefore we can say we're starting afresh, we're going to use all the information from the last groups of people who were doing the hospital and hopefully we can move forward very quickly.
A new 'citizens panel' of between 12 and 24 people will be introduced, to get the views of people as Islanders, service users and members of the community.
The feedback from this will help inform the decision of the future site of the hospital, though members of the panel will not be asked about specific locations.
The Oversight Group are specifically looking for people who have 'no preconceived bias' to avoid the panel being a 'forum for campaigners to press their views.'
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