The Jersey Minister for Social Security, Deputy Elaine Millar, has announced that an agreement has been reached with GPs to reduce the cost of a GP appointment for all Islanders.
This scheme has been developed to help Islanders with the rising cost of living, which has seen the cost of consultations increase.
Under a Health Insurance Fund Contract, additional payments will be made to practices for each face-to-face surgery consultation with a GP. The subsequent £20 reduction in the patient fee will be applied from 1 June 2023.
Practices will also be paid an additional £5 per consultation to support them with the increased costs of running their businesses.
Telephone consultation or consultations with other health professionals, such as nurses or health care assistants, will continue to be supported by other Health Insurance Fund agreements and not by this new scheme and so their cost to the patient will remain the same.
This new scheme applies only to surgery visits in normal surgery hours and does not cover home visits, telephone consultations, or out of hours services. These will continue to receive the current subsidy of £20 and the cost to patients for these services will be unchanged.
Members of the Health Access Scheme already pay a reduced fee of £12 for a GP and the £20 reduction will not be applied.
Practices will display their fees online or in their practice premises so patients are aware of the amount they will be charged and the level of government subsidy.
Deputy Elaine Millar said: “I am pleased that we have reached this agreement and have been able to tackle the cost of fees for GP appointments. I am grateful to the GPs for their support and implementing these changes over a challenging time frame.
“This new contract doubles the subsidy for a GP surgery visit. As the cost of living continues to be a challenge, it is important that we continue to make positive changes to support Islanders and make it easier for them to access the care they need.
“In addition, my team are also working with the GPs to provide free services for all children. Our aim is to have this in place for July and I look forward to announcing the details of this scheme very soon.”
Dr Gordon Callander, from the Primary Care Body, commented: “The PCB have long been calling for increased financial support to patients to allow them to access Primary Care appointments more readily. We are delighted that the Minister and her team have considered the increased costs of healthcare in the Island and taken this important step to support all patients.
“The government has also recognised the cost pressures on GP practices, which have been above inflation for a number of years, with increased subsidy to practices to allow them to maintain a wide range of services through GP surgeries.
“We continue to engage with Government on a wide range of issues for the benefit of all Islanders and look forward to finalising a contract which will allow children and young people to get the care and support they need from their own surgery.”