Calls To Delay Hospital Debate ‘Strange’

6th December 2017
Jersey’s Health Minister says any delay to the debate on funding the island’s new hospital would ‘grind the project to a halt’.
A scrutiny panel doesn’t want the States to vote on it next Tuesday – because planning permission has not yet been granted.
However Senator Andrew Green says the panel’s own advisers claimed a delay would harm the process.
“That is in the Concerto report, very clearly. They say failure to agree next Tuesday takes us from an amber-green outcome to an amber-red outcome. I find it bizarre that they have spent all this money on what I think is an excellent report from the Concerto advisers and they have totally ignored it.”
Ministers have proposed funding the hospital by borrowing £275m and taking most of the rest of the £466m  from the Rainy Day fund.
That has been backed by the review panel, with adviser Opus Corporate Finance saying it ‘makes sense’.
However chairman Deputy Simon Bree and the rest of the panel says there are ‘serious short-term risks’, which could affect the success of the project.
Mr Green has addressed those issues.
“Concerto give a number of different risks in the short-term. One, the failure to agree the Outline Business Plan and the funding next Tuesday which they give a high-risk. The Scrutiny Panel don’t, but Concerto do and I agree with it.

Senator Andrew Green

“The failure to appoint a main contractor they give as a high-risk. Well we can’t do that until we have got a scheme that is approved by the States.
“The planning one, yes we have put an outline application in. It may well be that the Minister after getting his advice from the inquiry in public will come back and say ‘Well I want it taller, I want it shorter, I want it closer to the road or further away from the road’. However that it is not unusual.”
Deputy Bree says he has been led to believe that the report from the Independent Inspector will come in towards the end of this month, so a decision could probably be made by early January.
However Senator Alan MacLean, despite welcoming the assessment on funding, echoes Senator Green’s message that delays can’t happen.
“We are pleased to see that the review panel acknowledges that the proposed blended funding solution is the most pragmatic approach and that their advisers, Opus, also agree that ‘a sterling bond is the most appropriate option.’

Senator Alan Maclean, the Treasury Minister, speaking in the States Assembly

“When the panel’s advisers have agreed that our funding proposals ‘make sense’ and that ‘it would be wise to take advantage of the current market’, what doesn’t make sense is to delay the debate and decision on the funding. We need to move forward with this critical project.”

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