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New hospital – ten important questions

20.11.2014

Lohikoski-based Tony Melville is a city councillor and member of the city board. He also serves as first deputy chairman of the board of Central Finland Health Care District. The decision to acquire the necessary building land for the new Central Hospital has already been taken, the final investment decision is expected in December of this year.

Why do we need a new Central Hospital? What’s wrong with the current one?

The original hospital dates from the nineteen fifties and it has been extended over the years as demands changed. Now the hospital is too big and rather fragmented – it no longer meets the needs of modern healthcare. It is also very expensive to repair and run. Most of the present buildings are in urgent need of repair. Renovation is not an option – cutting running costs is the key consideration and that means a new building.

So what will happen to the old hospital?

Some of the older buildings will be demolished and those that are in good condition or protected will be sold off. Only the current building 45 will definitely remain in use; certain other buildings may continue to be used for medical purposes, but not operated by KSSHP.

How much will the new hospital cost and when will it be ready?

The estimated cost of the new hospital is EUR 275 million and the primary healthcare facilities in the same complex commissioned by the City of Jyväskylä will cost a further EUR 39 million. We’re talking about the biggest single public sector investment in Central Finland’s history, so we have to get this right. It’s scheduled to be ready at the end of 2019 and in use by the spring of 2020.

Will the new hospital mean new jobs?

During the construction phase, 2016-2019, the new hospital is certain to have a positive impact on employment in Central Finland. Obviously the project is subject to EU competition legislation and we have to observe the principle of competitive tendering, but the idea is to use Central Finnish labour, materials, and knowhow wherever possible. The new hospital will have less staff in total than the old one, but we reckon that the reduction in staff numbers will happen naturally as current employees, particularly nursing staff, retire.

So the new hospital will be smaller than the old one?

Yes, it will be physically smaller, but the range of treatment on offer will remain the same. A smaller building with better logistics means significant savings in terms of cleaning, heating, lighting, and water. We hope to make savings of at least 10% in running costs, which means the hospital should pay for itself in about ten years.

I’ve heard people talking about the ‘hot hospital’ – what does it mean?

The hot hospital is the part of the hospital that operates 24/7 – A&E, operating theatres, intensive care, maternity and imaging. Simple as that.

What differences will the patients notice?

A blurring of the line between primary and specialist healthcare. More treatment than before will be provided on an outpatient or day hospital basis. The wards will have just 268 patient beds, and these will be single patient rooms with a private bathroom. Statistics show that a single room and an early return home are the best way to avoid infection.

So will patients eat in their rooms too?

No, that’s not the idea. Good, healthy food is a vitally important element of patient care, and we look on eating as a social activity. There will be quiet areas on the wards for patients to eat in together with other patients and they can use the hospital restaurant, too.

Many support services have been reorganised. Will the new hospital have its own food service and kitchen like at present?

We’re looking at various models of organising the food service in the new hospital. Cooperation with Jyväskylä’s Kylän Kattaus is one possible way forward. But I’m a traditionalist, I want to see a short chain between food preparation and the customer, whether that be a patient or member of staff. I see a production kitchen in the new hospital as essential.

So is the new hospital project all about cutting costs?

It’s about finding the most cost-efficient way to produce quality care. Our motto remains unchanged: patient first.

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