2022 Health Review and Update
Reduction in charges for children under 18
The year began well with the introduction of health subsidies for children visiting the Emergency Department, their GPs or a nurse, due to the redistribution of family allowance.
Parents are now only required to pay £25 for their child to see a GP and £15 for a nurse appointment regardless of the treatment required. Those on income support will continue to have their attendance and consultation funded by ESS.
Reciprocal Health Agreement (RHA)
A RHA was signed recently between ourselves and the UK. This means that as from January 2023 all Bailiwick residents can benefit from the RHA when visiting the UK. This should make travelling to the UK for those with health concerns a lot less stressful as unexpected emergency treatment becomes free to access.
National Institute for health and Care Excellence Technology Appraisals (NICE TAs)
The implementation of the 2nd phase of NICE TAs has continued to make a wider range of drugs and treatments available to islanders. HSC will report back to the States by June 2023 with proposals recommending or otherwise whether to further close the treatment gap between ourselves and the NHS together with proposals that will secure longer term funding for this policy.
Surgical waiting lists
Surgical waiting lists continue to grow alarmingly and various services are being withdrawn, including bowl cancer screening and a reduction in services for some receiving care in the community. Carers will undoubtedly come under increasing pressure to fill the growing gaps in services in the year ahead.
HSC tell us they have a plan to implement a system to reduce backlogs and waiting times but at this time it is not clear what that plan is or when surgical waiting lists will start reducing.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that we are being charged to access a wider variety of health services. We recently discovered that a 25% uplift or mark up will be applied to your invoice should you chose to go “private” whether that is via a personal health insurance policy of whether you self-fund a treatment. HSC also recently announced it would be charging cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy a treatment fee of up to £380 to access the Emergency Department outside of the oncology units limited opening hours. This is another disappointing and unnecessary cut in services to a vulnerable group of patients.
We are deeply concerned that HSC appear to be introducing a model of healthcare that favours the ‘better off’ (financially), and acts as a deterrent to the less well off.
Whilst the threat from Covid19 has reduced as we come into the winter months please don’t forget the advice and precautions still available on https://covid19.gov.gg. There is also very important information there for those that are classified as “clinically extremely vulnerable”. Please take the time to remind yourself of the potentially life saving guidance you can find there.
Primary Care Review
A wide-ranging survey seeking the views of islanders in accessing Primary Care services was published earlier this year in advance of a policy letter expected to include proposals to increase the affordability of primary care appointments, improve ESS’s equipment, aids & adaptations policy and establish whether to explore the introduction of a compulsory health insurance scheme (including an update on the Bailiwick Social Prescribing Pilot) for Primary Care.
The Human Tissue and Transplantation (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2020
Ending on a positive note, the new transplant law comes into force on 1st January 2023. The Law changes the legal consent mechanism for organ donation from an ‘opt-in’ system to an ‘opt-out’ system. This means that, from 1st January 2023, unless you have formally registered that you do not want to donate your organs, there will be a legal presumption in favour of organ donation.
Health rep for the GDA