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Covid cost HSC extra £4m. in first six months

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THE first six months of Covid-19 has resulted in an unexpected cost so far of nearly £4m., Health & Social Care has revealed.

President of Health & Social Care Deputy Heidi Soulsby. (28642565)

This includes around £1m. for PPE [personal protective equipment], £1m. of support to primary care and £200,000 for reagents for the testing equipment.

Another £645,000 was provided to agency and bank staff as well as for overtime pay, including for the Public Health team, and another £200,000 for emergency works carried out by the HSC estates team.

In addition a further £715,000 of capital costs was incurred as a response to the virus – £526,000 of this related to their test equipment kit for the pathology lab, including extractors, amplifiers and robots to automate the human elements of the work.

Although preparations to manage the impact of Covid-19 in the Bailiwick began in January, HSC said the unprecedented times dealing with a new virus, with unknown consequences, had resulted in significant additional capital and revenue expenditure for the year so far.

HSC president Heidi Soulsby said: ‘A spend of nearly £4m. on Covid-19 related costs for HSC is a considerable amount – particularly when it was unforeseen and, therefore, not budgeted.

‘However, it is important to note that purchasing of the testing equipment which enabled testing on island reduced the costs of molecular (swab) testing for SARS-CoV-19. It was decided not to invest in a Nightingale Hospital whilst the impact was based on theoretical modelling, and before on-island testing was established. The States of Guernsey decided to accommodate any potential increase in patient numbers by establishing plans for temporary extensions to the hospital building on the Princess Elizabeth Hospital campus.’

As announced last Friday, the ongoing costs of increasing testing capacity planned for phase 5c has been forecast as £3.7m.

However, HSC feel positive about the use of on-island facilities to process these tests, without needing to send them to the UK, as it represents a 'significant' cost saving for the Bailiwick.

Excluding the unexpected costs incurred for Covid-19 activity, HSC is currently forecasting a general underspend of its budgeted allocation for 2020 – resulting in a lower net cost overall.

Danielle Kenneally

By Danielle Kenneally
News reporter

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