Mental Health Unit Given £88m
I guess you can't tell a good story too many times, especially when you have no intention of making it true. Yes, here we are again on Fantasy Island, high on heady imaginings of the new Adult Mental Health Unit, to be built on the highly congested site at Llandough hospital.
Perhaps Robert J Owen isn't aux fait with the painful journey to reach the promised land? Maybe he's too young to know about the seven attempts to build a new hospital on the Whitchurch hospital site where - to my certain knowledge, no less than 5 sets of plans have received Planning Permission over the past 12 years. To be fair, the last extortionate cost of £80m was followed by some of the most expensive site preparation known to the construction industry - every red cent wasted, totalling £6m of public money - thanks due to the total ineptness of UHW's incompetent Planning Department ( a man, a mangy dog and a hopeful young lad with a box of crayons and a fishing pole.)
From the failed new unit at Whitchurch, ( planning wise ), a new idea was born out of the madness that is NHS Wales and our Labour government, with not a competent bureaucrat to make the coffee. Then - like the Phoenix ( of hope ) out of the ashes of the disastrous Whitchurch hospital fiasco, emerged the Great Plan 'Making a Difference', that included the Adult Mental Health Unit to be built on the existing Llandough Hopsital Site - Hallelujah ! we all cried.
Sadly, this wondrous idea was a tad flawed in that it lacked any detail as to How ? When ? Where? What ? or Who would make this plan reality, given the noticeable lack of any details, specific costs, design, location - or anything that would normally constitute a 'Plan'. In spite of this, months of public consultation where no further information about countless unanswered questions, the Great Plan was given the royal approval of the old Foggies and Donkeys organisation, the Community Health Council, much to everyone's consternation.
Now. three years after the hospital was to have begun construction, not a brick has been laid in anger, nor anything resembling the site for an adult Mental Health Unit of unknown size and detail. As usual, I hope you will forgive my cynicism, but this great unit was to have been completed next year ( 4 years promised by Paul Hollard and Katie Norton for a 'ring-fenced £80m' that failed to appear ).
September 2013 - the Penarth Times reports that the new Minister for Health and Social Care has been pledged £88m for the new hospital - a 135 bed unit that is to replace Whitchurch Hospital services and complement the Llanfair unit already at Llandough. Suddenly, I'm beginning to wake up and smell the rat-shit in the coffee.
Llanfair is a 57 bed unit built for £7.155m ( £125kper bed ) but - at a staggering £88m ( more than ten times the cost of Llanfair ! ) the cost per bed leaps to £652k, So - we the dumb public - are expected to swallow this deliberate confidence trick, once again. When I published my first report, in 2010 on this huge rise in costs no one could believe the cheek of our government. Obviously the wool was being pulled over our eyes.
Since 2010, the Finance minister, Jane Hutt AM let us know that ca. £16m was to be spent on the new Mental Health Hospital, which seemed a more realistic figure. Still, not a single brick was laid. Now we're expected to believe that £88m is to spent. Even if we include the cost of the 150 place new car park ( not in original plans ), the cost of relocating Rookwood hospital to Llandough, plus the new concourse / super mall attached to the M.H. unit, plus the new entry road and infrastructure, we STILL would be miles away from spending £88m - in my opinion.
Of course I expect Professor Drakeford will have a ludicrously ridiculous and unbelievable explanation for this cause of all my angst, but somehow I doubt it, I really do ! R. W.