Completing the second phase of the Hospital Modernisation project is inevitable and delaying it will come at the cost of our health and the public purse, argues the President of HSC.
Deputy Al Brouard has made an impassioned plea for public and political support for the second phase of the Hospital Modernisation Project, the future of which will be up for debate later this year.
Political indecision earlier this year stopped the States agreeing to any new ways of raising tax. It compounded several other ongoing issues that together forced Policy and Resources to propose cuts to capital projects.
This reshuffling will see the States Assembly debate whether to prioritise the Education Programme over the second phase of the Hospital Modernisation Project.
It was a decision that Deputy Brouard said took him by surprise.
“I wasn't expecting for Education to get ahead of Health in my personal view,” he said. “I think most of my committee were probably surprised as well, but that's P&R’s prerogative.
“We've [had two] months to persuade them with regard to the order; or come up with a different plan. But we are... convinced that we really need to press on with Phase Two sooner rather than later.”
Pictured: Phase Two of the Hospital Modernisation Project.
The reasons for pushing forward with Phase Two were outlined in a media briefing yesterday, the details of which you can find HERE.
Deputy Brouard said discussions have since been had with both Education, Sport & Culture and P&R to try and find a compromise.
"We've been having discussions with ESC and also with P&R. We've also had some members of P&R come to our presentation, which was very similar to the one that you've received this morning, but for deputies. So, we're engaging all the time, and there are plans afoot... for some proposals that may come forward in the July debate.
“But of course we need to continue to press on. We don't have a choice... the demographics aren't going to be changed by anything that P&R do. We're going to have to face that particular conundrum whether we like it or not, and hence the need for us to press ahead.”
Pictured: Deputy Brouard.
The scenario HSC will face if the Hospital Modernisation Project isn’t prioritised is something that Deputy Brouard hasn’t fully wrapped his head around.
“I haven't really worked out that scenario, but I would say we would have to mothball Phase Two and continue as we are. The island will be faced with higher costs when they do decide to do it, because they won't have a choice, we will have to do Phase Two at some stage, it will just be more expensive.”
If the island doesn’t move ahead with Phase Two “the island will rue the day it didn’t” according to Deputy Brouard.
“[The island] will still have that problem, that those people are still going to be ageing, and they're still going to be needing more and more treatment.
"So, either they don't get the treatment, or they're going to wait longer for it. And that's something we're trying to avoid. We've already seen what the pressures looked like today, you can see the waiting lists... but you know what, that problem is not going to get any easier.
“The silver tsunami is coming, we need to look after those people. Those are our families, those are our children, those are our grandparents. They need a modern functioning hospital.”
You can listen to the full interview with Deputy Brouard below:
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