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Healthcare changes benefit Islanders

12 May 2010

Jersey GPs will be better regulated and health care in the Island will become more integrated following the unanimous adoption of a proposition in the States today (Wed 12 May) to begin a process of modernising primary health care.

The proposition came about after negotiations between the Jersey Primary Care Body, which represents all Jersey GPs, and the Social Security and Health and Social Services Departments recognised that current systems for governance and regulation of GPs in Jersey as well as other aspects of primary healthcare, needed to catch up with 21st century requirements.

In particular, the governance and regulation of GPs locally does not meet the new ‘revalidation’ requirements of the GMC. The GMC licenses all doctors practising in Jersey, including GPs.

Other areas for improvement include better health information for planning purposes, more consistent and effective management of chronic illnesses to keep people healthy, as well as new systems to underpin better organised care.

In order to help fund the long-term changes, which are seen as essential, the Health Insurance Fund – which Islanders have already paid into for their health care – will  now provide an increased subsidy of £4 for each GP consultation, bringing the total subsidy  from £15 to £19. This is to protect patients from paying higher charges to cover the new requirements GPs are facing.

Speaking about today’s States decision, Deputy Medical Officer of Health, Dr Susan Turnbull added “I am delighted that this proposition has been adopted unanimously, after such a stimulating and constructive debate in the States Assembly this morning. 

“It is a very exciting and much needed first step, enabling the investment needed in primary care to gear up to meet the standards the General Medical Council requires of GPs and the system they work in.  Even more importantly, it lays the foundations for an integrated health system in Jersey that will be fit for the future.

“With local regulation of GPs and consistent standards of chronic disease management, primary care will become safer, more effective and more transparent for patients, with new and more affordable choices for accessing care. This is very good news indeed."

Dr Philippa Venn of the Jersey Primary Care Body said "We are very excited by the support that the States have demonstrated for the advancement of Primary Care in Jersey. Patients are going to benefit from the improvements and can be reassured that their GPs are quality assured in the same way as our colleagues on the mainland. This is a true example of partnership working between our politicians and doctors and we look forward to future developments that will enable first class healthcare for Islanders.”

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