Following the recent cut to doctor's fees in Jersey, Deputy Peter Roffey wants to remind people on low incomes in Guernsey that they may be able to apply for help with some of their medical costs.
Jersey patients now pay £20 less than they were for their GP appointments after the States there agreed a new subsidy for a standard ten-minute slot.
That has reduced the price of a consultation in Jersey to £40 at some practices, compared to around £62 in Guernsey.
The price reduction is unlikely to be replicated here, with Guernsey's Health and Social Care Committee President confirming last week that there is no plan to try and introduce further grants to help cut the cost of doctor's appointments.
Guernsey's doctor appointments are already subject to a £12 grant payable by the island's Social Security fund. Any patient who is not eligible for the Medical Grant would have to pay £12 on top of the advertised fee.
Pictured: It was announced last week that GP fees are being cut by £20 in Jersey.
The advertised fee for Island Health (L'Aumone, St Sampson's, and Town surgeries) is £62 for an adult's appointment. The Healthcare Group website (High Street, Cobo, Rohais, and St Martin's) states that it charges £60 while Queen's Road Medical Practice (Queen's Road and Le Lingerie) has a listed fee of £64.60.
Each of the three GP groups charges £25 for a standard child's appointment.
Those charges are unlikely to change with the HSC President, Deputy Al Brouard saying his committee can't intervene due to the "significant budgetary pressures" facing the States.
Deputy Brouard said last week that: "Measures are already in place that offer support for those on low incomes through Employment & Social Security. We were also pleased to be able to introduce low cost appointments for those under 18 years of age in 2022. Additionally, a number of screening and preventative programmes are also funded by HSC and delivered through Primary Care to improve access to key services and remove fees at the point of use for islanders."
Supporting that, Deputy Peter Roffey - the President of Employment and Social Security - has now pointed out that financial help may be available to people who aren't eligible for income support. He's concerned that some people may not be aware of this and he wants to ensure no one misses out on financial support they may need.
“Under Income Support, many low income households will qualify for medical cover," he said. "However, islanders may not be fully aware that if they don't qualify for Income Support, but their weekly income exceeds the Income Support level by less than £60 per week, and their savings are less than the relevant limit set out in the table (below), then their medical and para-medical costs may also be covered through the scheme."
Pictured: Anyone with less than the amounts listed above in savings, who earns less than £60 more than the upper limit for income support, may be able to apply for help paying their medical bills.
Some examples of medical support which may be provided include help paying prescription charges, the cost of a GP appointment, or appointments with a physiotherapist, osteopath, chiropractor, chiropodist, or similar.
Deputy Roffey said other financial support may also be available but that can only be determined on application on a case-by-case basis.
"In exceptional circumstances, established by the Income Support team on an individual case-by-case basis, medical cover may be provided even if an individual’s weekly income exceeds the Income Support level by more than £60 per week."
He encouraged anyone who feels they may be eligible for the financial support with their medical costs to contact Income Support on 222508, or by email at IncomeSupport@gov.gg.
Pictured: ESS President, Deputy Peter Roffey.
This is not the first time that Deputy Roffey has encouraged people to apply for financial support that they are entitled to.
As President of ESS he is responsible for the political oversight of the island's benefits systems and its affordable housing.
With the cost of living rising, Deputy Roffey urged people to apply for financial support that is available last October.
At the time he said there is no shame in it, and that there are various financial support packages to support people when they need it.
He questioned why many people claim family allowance without a second thought but wouldn't want to claim other benefits available to them.
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