Guernsey Press

Much progress made on a wide and diverse mandate

Two years after the 2020 General Elections, the main States committees have been sharing with the Guernsey Press what they think they have achieved and what their priorities are before the next election in summer 2025. The series continues with Health & Social Care.

Al Brouard, President Committee for Health & Social Care and David Gedze, Mental Health Social Worker. (31351645)

Covid-19 dominated much of island life in the early part of this political term and was certainly an absolute priority for our committee.

This remains the case now with the ongoing management of Covid, including the delivery of such a large-scale vaccination programme – something we consider to be a huge success.

Our committee has a wide and diverse mandate and we have overseen much progress in key areas during the first two years of this term. We are delighted with the progression of the much-needed Hospital Modernisation Programme, with it having broken ground on the first phase of the development. This will provide new and significantly-improved facilities for our acute services among other improvements.

Securing agreement with the UK to introduce a new Reciprocal Health Agreement was very important for many islanders and we were proud to have worked alongside the Policy & Resources Committee to achieve this.

We have introduced changes arising from the redistribution of funding from family allowance that means all under-18s can be seen by their GP or treated in the emergency department for a flat £25 charge. This is a welcome boost for many families and ensures that cost does not prevent young people from receiving the care they need.

The delivery of mental health services is something that many in our community are rightly passionate about, including the hard-working staff who specialise in this area.

Our committee recognised the need for a further evaluation on how support is provided in this important area and commissioned a review of provision in mental health and wellbeing services. This has been published in full recently and provides both reassurance on the services offered and further recommendations on how we can continue to improve.

We know that long waiting lists are a source of frustration for those in need of support and, while we have more to do in the coming years in certain areas, we have made great strides to catch up on imaging.

The waiting list for an MRI, for example, is now very low.

We have also completed a significant piece of work to review the Children Law. This was identified as a priority in the Government Work Plan and aimed at reducing delays in outcomes and decision-making for some children in the family justice system. Our policy letter is due for debate by the States shortly.

Our committee is really proud to oversee an organisation of 2,500 staff and a budget of £200m. Success is very much the day job, keeping our services running for islanders, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with thousands of interactions with patients and service users all by a dedicated team of professionals.

Looking ahead to the rest of this term, it is important to make progress in addressing current challenges around community care and long-term care provision.

We will be working with the Committee for Employment & Social Security in respect of the Supported Living and Ageing Well Strategy, to address system-wide issues and meet community needs in the long term.

In addition to completing phase 1 of hospital modernisation, we will focus on preparing for phase 2, which is due to begin in 2024 and will deliver improvements for a large number of our hospital wards and services. We must continue efforts to recruit the staff we need within the context of global shortages and will continue working with other committees to deliver key worker accommodation.