‘Reinstate services at Samarès Ward or risk facing a vote of censure’

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A VOTE of censure could be brought against the Health Minister if he fails to reopen the Island’s rehabilitation services at Samarès Ward.

Senator Steve Pallett successfully brought a proposition to the States this week which called for the ward to be reopened – or for the minister to find ‘another suitable location’ from which the services, which used to be available at the Overdale site, could operate.

However, the Senator said he was concerned that the wording of the proposition – which he admits ‘could have been tighter’ – could lead to an alternative to Samarès Ward being sought. This, Senator Pallett said, would go against the ‘spirit of the vote’ and could prompt action to be taken against the minister.

‘A vote of no confidence won’t do anyone any favours, I don’t want it to come to that and it is unlikely to happen. There is also a censure vote we could use and there are other methods to expressing discontent,’ he said. ‘If the minister does not deliver on returning the facilities back to Samarès Ward, there will be raised temperatures but I am hoping he can deliver on the cool and calm solution that we all want.’

States Members voted unanimously in favour of Senator Pallett’s proposition and Deputy Renouf is now required to report back to his political colleagues no later than 1 March with a potential solution.

The vote came after a number of rehabilitation patients shared their negative experiences of the 14-bed unit at Plémont Ward and the care they had received within the community. This service replaced the Samarès Ward facility, which closed in 2020.

Deputy Renouf had tried to block the potential return to Overdale with an amendment which watered down Senator Pallett’s proposition. However, he withdrew the proposals at the 11th hour after what Senator Pallett described as ‘rumblings of discontent within the Council Of Ministers’.

Discussing the ‘another suitable location’ wording within his proposition, Senator Pallett added: ‘That does not mean it is open to interpretation. I hope he doesn’t think that he can come back on 1 March and say that Plémont Ward is a suitable location because that is not in the spirit of the vote and I will be very disappointed. It is clear what the public want and I think a lot of States Members have made it known what they would like to see as well.’

Senator Pallett added that reinstating the Island’s rehabilitation services at Samarès Ward would give Deputy Renouf ‘some breathing space’.

‘I have always accepted that we will need an interim solution when the building is knocked down to make way for the new hospital.

‘But, in the meantime, let’s make use of this specialist ward which gives patients the space they need to recover.

‘This could make the difference in their rehabilitation, which could include learning to work again. It also gives the minister time to find a suitable interim solution,’ he said.

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