Ministers have issued an update on the Our Hospital project, summarising the progress made since it was announced by the Chief Minister in May, and providing the latest timeline for the project.
The Our Hospital Political Oversight Group, chaired by Deputy Chief Minister, Senator Lyndon Farnham, has been meeting regularly since May and has made important progress in establishing internal governance, securing financial approval for the initial phase and establishing the process for the recruitment and procurement of the project team.
The group has also considered potential risks, approved the approach to engaging with Scrutiny and the States Assembly, and received updates on the new Jersey Care Model, which will determine what kind of hospital Jersey needs. The project will be ready to step up its work once the Jersey Care Model has been approved by Ministers, as the Model is a fundamental building block on which the clinical design of the new hospital depends.
Senator Lyndon Farnham said: “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.
“I hope that as much scrutiny as possible can be carried out in parallel with the project, rather than in sequence. This will provide Scrutiny with the opportunity to give views that the project can take on board as it develops.”
The project team will ensure it engages proactively with Scrutiny, keeps islanders informed and provides regular updates to the States Assembly.
The Political Oversight Group has approved the establishment of a Citizens’ Panel and is seeking a specialist independent facilitator to support the detailed design of the process and to facilitate the sessions.
The Panel will comprise between 12 and 24 Islanders, from a representative cross-section of society. The project will put out an open invitation to Islanders to apply to become panel members. A precondition of membership is that they have no preconceived bias about the hospital, in order to avoid the panel simply becoming a forum for campaigners to press their views.
The panel will be asked for views as Islanders, local community members and users of Jersey’s healthcare system, not as experts. They will not be asked for their views on issues such as medical technology, clinical adjacencies, civil engineering, or funding. They will also not be asked for a view on any specific location, but will be invited to give a view on the factors that the project should take into account when considering potential locations.