'Island needs to bring in competition for GPs'

RISING fees to see a doctor are deterring some vulnerable islanders from visiting their GPs, leaving them to suffer alone, it has been warned, as the cost of a consultation has now increased to nearly £50.

'Island needs to bring  in competition for GPs'

All three of the island's practices increased fees at the beginning of the year – by between 3.6% and 5.3% for a standard consultation, which typically last 10-12 minutes.

Groups representing vulnerable users are now calling for more competition, especially since the removal of a manpower cap two years ago which limited the number of general practitioners allowed to operate in Guernsey to just 42.

However, British Medical Association spokesman Dr Brian Parkin said, like any business, expenses and viability needed to be reviewed annually and costs were generally on an upward trend.

Age Concern chairman Dave Inglis was 'disappointed' the three practices – Islandhealth, Healthcare Group and Queen's Road Medical Practice – had increased charges given the old age pension had risen by just 0.8%.

'We certainly have members who have to make the critical decision between going to the doctor or staying at home and suffering, which is not good,' he said.

'They feel forgotten about and many of them aren't able to live a reasonable lifestyle.

'It is not affordable any more.

'It would be good to have competition and I know in Jersey, with the introduction of the Co-op Medical Care, it has made that area a lot more competitive.'

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