States votes against free GP appointments for children

Rebecca Thorn

BBC News Online

The States Assembly has voted against a change that would have made GP appointments free for all children in Jersey until 2021.

Deputy Carina Alves had proposed the interim measures while a more affordable primary care scheme is devised by the health minister for the start of next year.

Deputy Alves told the States "good health should not be determined by income".

A reduced fee of £10 for children's consultations was introduced during the coronavirus crisis, but is due to end on 9 August.

It coincides with the return of GPs to private practice, after the States agreed to directly employ them during a four-month period.

A proposal to axe a £120 fee for a women's 'pregnancy package' was also rejected by the States.

In February, it was voted that the health minister must devise a plan which reduces "financial barriers for patients who are financially, clinically or socially vulnerable" by 1 January 2021.

Deputy Richard Renouf said he expected to lodge his proposition in September.

Jersey GPs to return to pre-pandemic roles

BBC Radio Jersey

GPs in Jersey will not be renewing the temporary roles they took on during the coronavirus pandemic, the organisation representing GPs has revealed.

The Primary Care Body explained this is due to the reduced number of cases of the virus in Jersey and GP's wishes to return to their pre-pandemic services.

During the pandemic the island's private GPs have been employed by the government and subsidies have cut the cost of related fees.

The temporary contracts with Health and Community Services end in August.

Speaking on behalf of the body, Dr James Mair said the recent advertisement by the ‘Friends of our new Hospital’ suggesting the Jersey Care Model was being introduced was not factually correct.

He added that Dr Nigel Minihane would like to personally distance himself from the comments made within it and wished to reassure patients who were worried about the claims it made.

Proposals to make GP appointments for all children free

Sarah Bailey

BBC Radio Jersey

None of Jersey's children may have to pay to see a doctor in future under changes being proposed to the States.

At the moment, children can see a doctor free of charge until they are four years old, but Deputy Carina Alves said she wanted to extended that to include older children.

Earlier this year more than 100 GPs were brought under the control of the States to give people better access to healthcare during the coronavirus pandemic.

PA Media

New fees were introduced as part of the agreement, charging £10 for appointments for children aged between five and 17.

But Deputy Alves has been arguing that was still putting some children off going to the doctors because families could not afford it.

She said she wanted the fees to be dropped to ensure young people got the best possible medical care.

The Children’s Commissioner for Jersey, Deborah McMillan, has made similar calls saying she had heard from children who would put off going to the doctors because of the costs.

The States is due to debate the proposals in July.

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