Guernsey Press

Delay could cost lives, HSC warns over PEH

AVOIDABLE deaths could occur if phase two of the hospital modernisation project is put on hold, Health & Social Care has warned.

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Jan Coleman, the clinical director for the development programme at the hospital, explaining what a delay on the next phase could mean for patients. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 32167994)

The work could be delayed due to States funding shortages and with HSC’s plans set to battle for priority with post-16 education developments.

Yesterday healthcare officials warned of the potential risks to patients.

With the hospital currently at capacity, on high risk 'black alert', and not meeting current healthcare regulations, the adoption of an ‘adjacencies model’ is planned to mitigate all risk factors.

‘We’re an island, and we need to be resilient,’ said Health & Social Care president Al Brouard.

‘We only have one hospital, we need to manage our risks and we need to match today’s demographic changes as tomorrow’s demographic changes will be even higher.

‘We do have some issues and we do have to prepare for the future. Phase two unlocks our ability to address these issues.’

The current hospital layout does not encourage patient flow and efficiency, and cannot provide a ‘one-stop shop’ for patients.

A woman in labour needing emergency surgery is taken along a public corridor, into the lifts and down to theatre.

‘At the moment, the maternity ward is eight minutes away from theatre and it’s not good enough,’ said medical director Dr Peter Rabey.

‘Hospital staff practise making the trip, but with the modernisation, the maternity ward will be next to theatre and paediatrics and the neo-natal ICU. The layout has perfected adjacencies and is a logical sequence as to not cause any delays.

‘It is logical to do this development in sequence.’

Waiting lists, particularly for gastroenterology and orthopaedics, and Guernsey’s ageing population, have also been driving forces behind the modernisation, and the urgency to complete phase two as soon as possible.

Phase one of the project began in March 2022, to deliver a purpose-built critical care unit of increased capacity and a post-anaesthesia recovery unit, which could be converted for future pandemics.

Phase two was due to start in 2024, taking four years to complete, including refurbishing existing spaces, several new builds and rearranging the layout.

But Policy & Resources wants to prioritise education developments instead.

Deputy Brouard added: ‘We cannot just continue to deliver “business as usual”. You only need to look across the water [at the NHS] to see just what a lack of investment in healthcare looks like.’