Questions still need answers

As the row over the move to Bramford rumbles on, today The Evening Star reviews the 20 questions originally posed to the trust and the answers we have either received or gleaned from our sources, and looks again at those that remain unanswered.

As the row over the move to Bramford rumbles on, today The Evening Star reviews the 20 questions originally posed to the trust and the answers we have either received or gleaned from our sources, and looks again at those that remain unanswered.

Ten of the 20 questions remain unanswered, or only partially answered, and we now pose seven more.

1) When did the PCT start their search for a new building?

The PCT began searching during the public consultation last year when it was clear that a new county-wide headquarters was likely to be needed. The Strategic Health Authority asked them to come up with a location by August 31.

Answered by Suffolk PCT

2) Was any public discussion held on a new headquarters and were there any papers produced?

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There was no public discussion, the decisions were taken by a transitional board which was set up to oversee a smooth change from the old organisations to the new. Their meetings were not open to the press or public.

Answered by Evening Star enquiries

3) Was there any discussion at any time about keeping the search for a new headquarters out of the public domain?


4) When was the decision made on where the new HQ would be?

It had to be made by August 31 but no exact date of when it was made has been given.

Answered by Suffolk PCT

5) Who was involved in the decision making process?

The decision was made by the transitional board which was made up of Carole Taylor Brown, the chief executive of the new trust, along with the chairmen of the old PCTs and two non-executive directors who have not been named.

Answered by Evening Star enquiries

6) Did the successful candidate for the chief executive's job have any influence over the decision?

Carole Taylor-Brown sat on the transitional board which made the decision.

Answered by Evening Star enquiries

7) Who had the final say on the decision and was any review of the decision making process taken?

The transitional board made the decision but it had to be approved by the board of the new Suffolk PCT. This was done at their inaugural meeting on Monday and board members unanimously approved it.

Answered by Evening Star enquiries

8) Why wasn't an existing NHS property deemed suitable and was any discussion held on this point?

The board looked at 12 potential options, which were then narrowed down to three.

Included in the original 12 were four in Ipswich, one in Woolpit, one in Needham Market and one on the western outskirts of Ipswich.

The three final options included the Bramford site, as well as a commercial premises just inside the Ipswich boundary and a public sector body in Ipswich.

The PCT have not revealed where they were but claim they were all rejected because they had "serious faults".

Partially answered by the PCT

9) Was there any discussion on the possible public relations effect of moving in to new buildings, whether rented or bought, at a time of crippling cutbacks to NHS services?

The PCT have not answered this directly but the paper that went before the board on Monday said: "The PCT needs to be sensitive to the public perception of such a move and of its responsibility to account to taxpayers for all areas of expenditure. It must seek accommodation which is fit for purpose and cost effective, even if this means that the chosen site is not perfect in every sense."

Partially answered by the PCT

10) Did any consultation, public or otherwise, take place on where the HQ would be?

Yes, with the transitional board, but not in public.

Answered by Evening Star enquiries

11) What other sites were looked at and discarded? Did these include any buildings which are currently owned by the NHS?

See question eight.

12) Has the lease been signed and how much is it?

The PCT have not said whether the lease has been signed or whether it could still be revoked. The annual rental will be £301,072.

Partially answered by the PCT

13) Is the current building being done to PCT standards?

The PCT are still in discussion with the developers about the exact layout and office size.

Partially answered by the PCT

14) Will there ever be an option for the trust to buy the building?


15) Will the PCT be redeploying furniture from the three vacated buildings to save costs or has new furniture been ordered?

Furniture is being moved.

Answered by the PCT

16) Will there be a canteen on site and, if so, has anyone been employed to deliver the catering. If not, what staff benefits will there be on site?

There will not be a canteen. There will be a number of areas for making tea and coffee.

Answered by the PCT

17) Will the new executive team have their own offices or is the building open plan?


18) If the new chief executive has her own office what size is it and what furniture and equipment will be placed in it?


19) What technology provision has been planned for the new site and what is its cost?


20) What will happen to the offices at Thingoe House in Bury St Edmunds, St Clement's and the Bartlet?

Thingoe House is being sold off, raising £1m for healthcare in the county.

The offices at St Clement's will be part of a huge redevlopment of the site designed to provide a much better standard of treatment for mental health patients.

The Bartlet Annexe will be sold off along with the rest of the hospital.

Answered by the PCT

1) Has the PCT had discussions with the hospital about the possibility of using buildings which may become vacant on their site? (i.e the wards for the elderly at the north end of the hospital)

2) Has the final contact been signed? Or could the decision still be changed if a more suitable alternative was found?

3) The PCT states that 11 other options were considered. What buildings were they? Why have the exact details of these not been released?

4) Who was on the team that found the possible sites? What was the process used to determine these sites?

5) How long does the contract run for? Are there any get-out clauses?

6) Why has the new PCT only named two of its non-executive directors so far?

7) The PCT have recently hired a PR agency to handle their media communications during the "transitional" period. How much is this costing?

Read Evening Star editor Nigel Pickover's views on the new HQ in his Edblog:

Do you think the PCT have made the right decision by locating their HQ in Bramford?

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