Guernsey Press

PEH fiasco not isolated

The excruciating events at yesterday’s States meeting must have reminded Al Brouard why he was reluctant to take on the presidency of Health & Social Care.


He and his committee were blameless for the decision of staff to keep them in the dark about a 25% increase in the cost of the States’ largest capital project.

The scale of the concealment was unprecedented, but it was not an isolated incident. Indeed, an hour later another president revealed staff had not briefed him about the failure of a key service for which his committee was responsible.

In too many parts of the States, there is a cultural problem with relations and communication between politicians and advisers, and it’s getting worse with each term. This is at the heart of the hospital costs fiasco.

But Deputy Brouard’s explanations must also have reminded the States why it made him HSC president without much enthusiasm and of its nervousness about his committee’s dearth of experience.

Its leadership of a £120m. – now £150m. – capital project has plainly been woeful. For reasons it can’t explain, it failed to put a member on the project board, meekly accepted inadequate briefings from officials, and generally failed to get a grip on its flagship scheme.

Policy & Resources president Lyndon Trott predicted the Assembly would stop phase two of the PEH redevelopment if the cost remained close to £150m. That would be disastrous for the island.

Having recently led Education out of a capital project mess largely of its own making, much of the rest of Deputy Trott’s short tenure may have to be devoted to finding a way to do the same for HSC.