Hospital: ‘Powerful mandate for us to get on and build’

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The survey also found that two in three respondents said that rather than delaying the project any further, work should continue on developing the General Hospital plot.

Health Minister Andrew Green said the findings meant the debate over the location for the facility could ‘now be put to bed’, adding that they were a ‘powerful mandate’ for the future-hospital team to press ahead with plans to develop the current site.

His comments come after the future-hospital project suffered a setback in January when Environment Minister Steve Luce rejected plans to build on the current land because of the size and mass of the scheme. Revised plans for the project are due to be revealed on Monday. But if a proposition lodged last month is passed by the States Assembly, work on the future hospital could be halted for six months to enable an independent team to review the suitability of building on the current site in comparison to other plots such as the Waterfront and St Saviour’s Hospital.

UK polling company ComRes questioned 1,000 Islanders on a number of issues, including the new hospital project, last month. The data was weighted to be representative of Islanders by age, gender and parish.

According to the survey, 90% of Islanders believe the plans for the new hospital are important and 80% think it should be built as soon as possible.

A total of 15% said the Island did not need a new facility and 12% said that it was a waste of money.

The survey revealed that opinion about the location is divided, with 51% agreeing that the new hospital should be built on the current site, while 47% disagreed.

However, a third of the 47% of people who disagreed with building on the current site said that it was better to build there than delay any further. This equated to 16% of the total Jersey population.

According to ComRes, when combining these two proportions together, two- thirds of respondents (67%) either agree that building on the current hospital site is the right decision or say they would accept this location for the sake of building the hospital without further delay.

Senator Green said: ‘The debate over the location for our new hospital can now be put to bed. The site has been agreed by ministers, the States Assembly and the planning inspector, the Scrutiny panel’s independent advisers confirmed that the selection process was robust, and two-thirds of the public state that we should get on and build there rather than delay any further.

‘While the survey shows a slim majority of the public in favour of the chosen site, it also shows that a third of those who don’t like the location would still rather we build there than delay. This, together with the 80% who say we should build a new hospital as soon as possible, is a powerful mandate for the hospital project team to get on with it.’

On Monday the future-hospital team is due to present its revised plans to States Members before a public exhibition of the proposals are held throughout the week until Saturday
17 March.

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