Cost of doctor HSC’s post-pandemic priority

AN INVESTIGATION into the cost of primary care will be one of Health & Social Care’s main priorities once the Covid-19 situation has eased, the committee’s president told the States.

(Picture by Peter Frankland, 28112278)
(Picture by Peter Frankland, 28112278)

During her general update to the Assembly, most of which focused on the work that was being done to deal with the pandemic and thanking those who had contributed their time and effort so far, Heidi Soulsby said that the affordability of primary care was going to be addressed.

‘We will be seeking to accelerate proposals to ensure primary care services are accessible and affordable to all through a comprehensive review of the current grant system and the fee structure,’ she said.

This will include looking at the States’ grants and subsidies.

During questions, Deputy Soulsby told Victoria Oliver that although she was unable to say much more, HSC wanted to be sure that ‘the cost of attending primary care is not a barrier to people getting the care they needed’.

Deputy Oliver said she was aware of a number of people who were unwell, but had put off going to their GP until after the lockdown. By then their problem could be much worse.

Deputy Soulsby said that it was crucial for people who were worried about a health condition to get to the doctor.

She added that, certainly with regard to treatment in the Emergency Department at the PEH, anyone with Covid-19 symptoms would not be charged.

Deputy John Gollop was concerned about the impact of the lockdown on those with mental health issues and asked if there was a plan to allow such people to meet up with others, ‘in an appropriate way’.

Deputy Soulsby replied that HSC was looking at the possibility of one-to-one meetings for such people but it needed to be cautious and a balance had to be maintained.

However, as the situation eased she hoped that more could be done to help.

She said there was support information on the website.

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