Guernsey Press

Health president warns of rising charges on way

Old age pensioners paying for prescriptions, doing away with the £12 grant for GP visits and charging people more for attending the Emergency Department are all ideas that could be put to the States for approval in the near future, Health & Social Care president Al Brouard said yesterday.

Last updated
Health & Social Care president Deputy Al Brouard rolled up his sleeves yesterday as he and his committee faced tough questioning at a Scrutiny Management Committee hearing. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 33197353)

Deputy Brouard told a Scrutiny panel hearing explained that these health services were among those that could be changed in order to help raise more funds.

But making major changes in order to arrest the rising costs of healthcare would need the support of the States and he accepted that doing so ‘would be quite difficult’.

The ideas are among those before Policy & Resources’ savings sub-committee, and Deputy Brouard hoped that with P&R’s support, a report would be before the States by the end of the political term.

Several questions focused on the progress on the Partnership of Purpose, a 10-year project which was approved by the States in 2017 but which, panel chairwoman Deputy Yvonne Burford reminded people, was said to need another 10 years to come into effect the last time Scrutiny discussed healthcare issues.

Deputy Brouard said this was all about providing sustainable health care but there were ‘a couple of unpleasant truths’ necessary, in that more capacity for health and social care would be needed and the States, and the community, would have to agree on how it would be paid for.

‘We have a silver tsunami coming through,’ he said, referring to the ageing population, and the number of people requiring treatment or care would be increased.

All of the elements of the Partnership of Purpose fed into that, such as the extension of the hospital and the electronic patient records update.

The committee was also asked what steps it was taking to find efficiencies, and director of public health Dr Nicola Brink said that ‘upstream’ preventions to keep people healthy would help minimise the impact on people’s health needs, such as addressing obesity and diabetes.

He also told them that it had been decided to delay the launch of the electronic patient record system replacement from October.

‘It is critical that the transfer of old records to the new system goes well and that support for the new working practices are in place,’ he said.

‘Accordingly, the project team is concerned that we will be taking too much risk to go live in October.’

It was indicated that this could be at the end of the first quarter of next year.

Wider implications, such as the impact on costs, were being looked into, he said.