Work on plans to redevelop Jersey’s General Hospital on the current and adjacent sites has been halted. The Council of Ministers is supporting a position to overturn a previous States Assembly decision to build the Future Hospital at Gloucester Street and nearby sites. It follows a recent decision by the Minister for the Environment to refuse outline planning proposals. The States debate is due to be held on Tuesday 12 February 2019.
State of the current hospital
The General Hospital is in a very poor state. At least £65m worth of work is needed to keep the existing facilities in a safe condition until new facilities are completed and operational. A review is due shortly on further work that may be needed to meet statutory and regulatory standards. New clinical facilities on the existing site were due to open in phases between 2021-2025. Now that there will be a different programme for development of a new hospital, more investment may be needed. Read more about work that’s needed on the current hospital here.
Plans for the current site are for a 50,000 square metre, full service general hospital built and equipped to NHS standards. It has been reported that a French company could build a hospital in Jersey more cheaply. French hospitals have lower construction costs, but the cost of maintaining hygiene standards, and maintenance and operational costs can be higher. A hospital built to French standards is also likely to have a shorter lifecycle than one constructed to a higher quality NHS standard.
The hospital is costed on a price per square metre so it’s the size and specification of the hospital, not its location, which drives the budget requirement. The estimated ‘Jersey premium’ for construction is between 28% and 35% higher than London building costs per square metre.
Any other hospital of the required scale and size – even on a different, ‘clear’ site – will cost a similar amount of money to build because this is the average estimated cost of construction in Jersey for this type of building. There is a limited pool of design consultants and contractors that have experience of large hospital projects. They compete in a global market and so will routinely specify and source the most appropriate and cost effective materials and techniques.
Spend to date
The total expenditure to date is £41.2m (to December 2018). See the most recent breakdown of costs in a Freedom of Information question and response. This is the cost of work to choose, plan and design a full service general hospital to NHS standards, and designed to serve Islanders until 2065, in line with the approvals of a previous States Assembly. The breakdown of costs includes nearly £23m spent on technical expertise, for example from people who have extensive international experience of planning or building hospitals. This includes:
- Planning what healthcare Islanders will need in the future
- Planning and designing how the hospital will work
- Planning what equipment is needed in wards
- Planning and designing how the hospital will be built
The sum includes more than £7m which has been spent planning and moving existing hospital functions to prepare for the new build. These include moving accommodation for junior doctors to the Limes, building the new hospital catering unit (ongoing), and all the planning, design and engineering work to create a new outpatients department at Westaway Court.
In addition, more than £6m of the overall costs was spent improving current health and community services buildings and wards mainly at Overdale, in readiness for the planned dual site option (later withdrawn). This work is complete and delivering services to clients from improved facilities.
Future spend and feasibility study costs
The money allocated to the hospital redevelopment is specific to this site. It cannot be used for any other site or to explore the feasibility of other sites without a new States decision. A significant portion of the sum spent to date is site specific and can’t be recovered to use on other sites.
Size of hospital needed
The current plans are for a 50,000 square metre hospital on the current site, together with Westaway Court and the refurbished Granite Block. These plans were based on the Acute Service Strategy, developed by Health and Community Services. Under this model, the way healthcare is delivered will change. Clinically complex services will be provided in the new hospital and more services will be provided outside the hospital.
Building a hospital on other sites
Developing the current scheme has taken more than six years since the approval of the P82/2012 in October 2012. The Hospital Policy Development Board estimated that without any delays to any stage of the approvals process, clinical facilities on another site would be open by 2028. Under the current scheme, clinical facilities were due to open in phases from 2021 to 2025. See the timelines in the Hospital Policy Development Board final report on pages 61 and 73.
Building a hospital that meets planning requirements
Planning guidance is clear about building a hospital of the required size and scale Jersey needs: None of the other sites* is likely to meet the requirements of the Island Plan. Each site comes “with its own set of significant adverse environmental effects and consequent tensions with the Island Plan.” (Planning Inspector 2019).
The Planning Law allows the Minister for the Environment to breach the Island Plan if it’s in the public interest. The planning inspector said “there can be little doubt that providing a much needed new hospital to serve Jersey’s population could provide such a ‘public interest’ justification.” Read the planning inspector’s report.
*Overdale, Waterfront, Warwick Farm, St Saviour and People’s Park
Kensington Place properties
The States owns 44 Kensington Place. The Stafford and Revere hotels have indicated they may move forward with their own development proposals for this area.