Politicians in Alderney and the owner of the island's only GP practice have agreed in principle that primary care should be taken over by the States - but a deal has not yet been concluded.
The States of Alderney said yesterday that it had reached a "significant milestone in efforts to secure GP services in the island", which were left in a precarious position recently when the Island Medical Centre announced plans to close.
"Following extensive and collaborative discussions, it has been agreed by the owner of Island Medical Limited and the States of Alderney that it is in the community’s best interest for the latter to take over ownership of the Island Medical Centre," said the States.
This prompted reports in some media that an agreement had been finalised for GP services to be nationalised and run by the States. But Express understands that a deal has not yet been finalised. At this point, the States and the Island Medical Centre have agreed that their ideal outcome is for the States to take over GP services and they hope that further discussions will result in a deal soon.
Pictured: The States of Alderney are edging towards running GP services themselves but are yet to conclude a deal with the current provider.
Express reported last month that the Island Medical Centre planned to close its doors for the final time on 6 May and on an 11th hour deal with Queens Road Medical Centre in Guernsey which has allowed the Alderney practice to remain open since then.
The owner of the practice, Gordon Fitton, said yesterday: "We are delighted that the States of Alderney and Guernsey have engaged with us to ensure the best possible healthcare model for the island.
"We are hugely grateful for the commitment of the Practice Manager, staff and medics of the Island Medical Centre, and for the support of Queens Road Medical Practice during this time."
The States of Alderney said they were continuing to work with the island's practice and the States of Guernsey jointly to "develop an optimum model for health and care in Alderney".
Pictured: GP services in Alderney will soon be under the control of the Island Hall if the only practice is nationalised.
Kath Jones, Chief Executive of the States of Alderney, said: "While it is unusual for the States to own a medical practice, this is something that all parties involved in recent discussions agreed was in the best interests of the community to ensure long-term stability of GP provision.
"There’s a great team at the Island Medical Centre, who have been supported in recent weeks by Queens Road Medical Practice, and between them they have enabled the service to continue.
"I’d like to thank the owner of the Island Medical Centre for the collaborative way he has engaged with us, always with the community’s needs at the heart of discussions and following a challenging six years for the business financially which we understand made it unviable for the Island Medical Centre to continue withstanding without changes.
"We’re also grateful for the support received by Queens Road and the States of Guernsey. Today’s announcement is a positive step along the journey to bring stability to the situation while we, working in partnership with the States of Guernsey, jointly develop an optimum model for health and care in Alderney."
Pictured: Politician Steve Roberts was encouraged by the statement made yesterday by the States of Alderney.
Alderney States' member Steve Roberts, who also represents the island in the States of Deliberation in Guernsey, said that he was pleased with the progress being made.
"Unusual problems sometimes need unusual solutions. I am delighted at the actions which the States of Alderney are taking to try to secure medical services here," said Mr Roberts.
"We have some wonderful, long-serving doctors and staff on the island. We are very lucky indeed."
Pictured: Queens Road Medical Centre in Guernsey stepped in to support Alderney's only GP practice last month and save it from closing its doors and leaving the island without primary care services.
When the closure of the GP practice was announced last month, the President of Guernsey's Policy & Resources Committee, Deputy Peter Ferbrache, and the Chairman of Alderney's Policy & Finance Committee, Bill Abel, who has since resigned, said that they would do everything possible to secure GP services in Alderney.
"The States of Guernsey and States of Alderney are working together at pace, and using all available resources, to support the Alderney community after the owner of the island’s lone GP practice signalled his intention to close the business," they said.
"We understand that this situation will be cause for concern for Alderney residents, so we want to reassure islanders that we are exploring all available options to ensure the Alderney community receives appropriate GP support in the short term, and to develop a sustainable and robust healthcare service in the long term."
Deputy Ferbrache and the Policy & Resources Committee yesterday declined Express' invitation to comment on the latest developments.
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