‘Health care services have to change with ageing population’

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HEALTH CARE in Guernsey is going to remain a very demanding area to work in, according to MSG chairman Doctor Gary Yarwood, pictured.

Specialist Health Services. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 23844795)

He was speaking after its annual report and KPIs were released, showing that more than 10 of the targets under the secondary health care contract were not met.

‘We’ve got an ageing demographic which four or five years ago people and politicians largely had their heads in the sand over,’ Dr Yarwood said.

‘It’s now becoming apparent that it’s not going to go away.’

In 2010, the population in Guernsey was roughly 10,000 people under 18 years old, 40,000 18- to 65-year-olds and 10,000 over-65.

Dr Yarwood believed by 2035 there would still be around 60,000 people but only 30,000 between 18 and 65 years old and 20,000 over-65s.

‘These [over 65s] are the people who demand the most of the health care system,’ he said.

‘Therefore it’s inevitable that we’re going to have to increase year on year what we can offer these patients in order to meet the demands.

‘I don’t think the public would expect us to get expensive systems in place that aren’t needed yet – [there’s no demand] to have the capacity now for 10 years’ time that we’re not using.’


He said everybody in health care works hard and when certain areas become over-stressed they will look at attracting further resources to keep up with demand.

He pointed to the stress on a single gastroenterologist, which has led to the appointment of a second one who will start in April.

Although it is not easy to predict, he suspects year on year there will be growth in demand in different areas.

With medical advances, there may be treatments and procedures done regularly now which will not be done as frequently in 10 or 20 years.


Similarly, he said, things might become vitally important which are not being done at all at the moment.

HSC medical director Doctor Peter Rabey added: ‘Health care is covered by teams and we want to work more closely with primary care and all the other contributors to be successful.

‘The only way we’re going to cope with the demands that [Dr Yarwood] described is to work together right across the service.’

This is supported and encouraged by HSC’s Partnership of Purpose.


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