Jersey’s parliament has approved borrowing of up to £275million to fund the island’s new hospital.
It follows two days of, at times, heated debate which ended with 30 voting in favour and 16 against.
The borrowing – details of which are due to be confirmed in the States next month – will be paid back through growth in the value of the States Strategic Reserve, meaning there is no plan to fund the build through any additional taxation.
In summing up, the Treasury Minister Senator Alan Maclean thanked fellow States Members for their contributions to the debate, but condemned those who he accused of misleading over the size and scale of the project.
He singled out Senator Sarah Ferguson for her ‘selective quoting’ when it came to financial projections, which he said were partly responsible for ‘scaremongering’ the public.
In summary, before politicians cast their vote, Senator Maclean said: “This is the biggest and most important decision this Assembly will make on behalf of islanders. This is a good solution. It is the right solution. And it is an affordable solution.”
Earlier in the week, senior medics wrote an open letter to all politicians urging them to agree the money to allow detailed design, planning and building work to get underway next to the existing General Hospital in St Helier.
They wrote: “We carry a significant risk in relation to our most critical services as they are located in the 1960s building, which is in the worst condition. The services at risk include the Emergency Department, Intensive Care Unit, Theatres, Chemotherapy Suite and the Children’s Ward. This will remain the case until they are moved to our new hospital.”
Based on the current timetable, the hospital could welcome patients by the year 2025.
The government’s Future Hospital team argue their plan is the right choice for the following reasons…
- The new hospital can be constructed in a single main construction phase – this enables a faster and more efficient build
- The main construction phase is adjacent to, but offsite to the operational hospital – disturbance during the main build phase can therefore be minimised
- The hospital can be constructed at a cost similar to a new build / new site options
- An entirely new build hospital will enable a high quality clinical environment supporting modern safety standards
- The new hospital will create an ideal healing environment for patients and their carers