Ministers have indicated their preferred site for the new hospital to be on the current General Hospital site with some acquisition of property on the east side of Kensington Place.  As we in the Future Hospital team continue our public engagement on this preferred site, a number of people have been asking us how we’re going to make sure that the quality of patient care remains high during the building process.

As part of the business case for the hospital we will need to demonstrate how the new hospital will provide better patient care on completion.  We also need to show and how we will meet strict criteria for providing safe, high quality patient care during the building process itself.

While the specific arrangements for ensuring safety and continuity of care will depend upon more detailed planning to be drawn up over the coming months, there are number of steps we know it will include.

Firstly, it’s important to note that different parts of the current hospital will be impacted in different ways and at different times. Certain services will be moved offsite (such as a number of outpatient services) and others will be moved within the site.

The first stage of the build, if approved, will include the demolition of Peter Crill House.  This building is currently used for administration and education purposes so it will be mainly staff who will be affected by this. The other building needed to create the construction site for the new hospital will be the Gwyneth Huelin Wing.  This building currently provides care for outpatients and people going in for routine tests and ongoing treatments.  Demolition of these two buildings would then be possible in 2019 in readiness for the start of construction a few months later.

A good number the outpatient services will be moved across Parade Gardens to Westaway Court. This building is currently used for staff accommodation.  We are working closely with potential providers who can supply good quality accommodation close to the hospital. Many people coming for outpatient appointment will still need to use Patriotic Street car park so we recognise the need to provide ways to help them travel to and from these buildings safely and easily.

In terms of moving patients from older parts of the hospital to newer locations either onsite or across Parade Gardens, we will ensure wherever possible that departments only have to move once. We will work closely with doctors, nurses and other hospital staff to make sure the moves are well planned and put patient safety first.

As part of our planning application, we will also need to show how during construction we will successfully manage and minimise noise, vibration and dust levels through the build to ensure patient and staff comfort. With careful forethought, we can limit noise to certain hours during the day and for only a certain length of time.  Using the latest building techniques, we are confident that noise and dust levels can be kept to an acceptable level.

It’s important for us to remember that we certainly aren’t the first hospital to be redeveloped in this way.  We have already looked at other examples of successful moves and rebuilds to make sure we implement the lessons learned elsewhere.  We will continue to do this.  We are fortunate to be working with expert and experienced advisors who have undertaken similar projects elsewhere.

In terms of the broader aims for the new hospital to provide safe, sustainable and affordable care, we want to transform the current General Hospital, which has developed in a piecemeal way since the 1860s, into a modern fully integrated building. We want to make sure departments that are related clinically are physically much closer together.  In this way patients can have a better experience in hospital and don’t have to move too far within the building to get the treatments they need.

In tandem with the new hospital, community based services will be developed to make sure that patients can receive excellent care at home and stay out of hospital when they don’t need to be there.

Preventing unnecessary admissions will help people to stay independent as long as possible, and will mean they receive the exact care they need more quickly. It will also make sure that the hospital can be more effective in helping patients when they do need its services.

For patients who need to be admitted, we want to increase the number of single en-suite rooms to maximise their privacy and dignity.  While some wards, such as the children’s ward, wouldn’t suit all individual rooms, we want to make sure that patients have the choice to have a single room if they prefer. This will enable more flexible visiting hours so that family and friends, where they want to do, are more able to help our nurses to look after their loved ones.

We will also be developing care solutions to meet the increasing demands on health services as our population ages. Thanks to modern building techniques, the physical design of the new hospital building will have the necessary flexibility so it can adapt to changing needs in the years ahead.

We will continue our public engagement in the coming weeks.  We look forward to meeting as many Islanders as possible to hearing from you what you feel about the preferred site and how this might affect you specifically or people or groups you know more generally.

If you’d like to explore any of these ideas further, or share your thoughts with the team from a patient’s perspective, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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Bernard Place, Project Director, Future Hospital Jersey