Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Guernsey Health chiefs oppose charging for A&E care for cancer patients

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It follows backlash from islanders, including more than 4,700 people who signed a petition calls on the Committee to return to its previous system.

The charges were introduced in May, which the committee said would be “fair and just” for all of his patients.

But now the committee’s president, Deputy Al Brouard, says the committee took the “strength of community spirit” very seriously and confirmed that free treatment would be reinstated:

“We are part of the community, we have listened to the community and we can see the strength of the feeling that exists regarding this issue. As such, we have responded. But, and it’s a big but, our committee remains absolutely committed to providing health services that are equitable to all.

“We don’t want to be ‘relegated’, but we don’t have cash in the abyss either, and we originally made a decision that we felt was in the interest of treating patients fairly.”

He added that the committee will continue to review A&E fees to try to make them fair for all patients.

During the review, the fees will be “temporarily” abolished.

Deputy Brouard warns that continuing to treat cancer patients free of charge could mean different compromises are needed elsewhere:

“However, it is an inescapable truth that the cost of [out-of-hours cancer treatment] will likely mean we have to make a difficult choice elsewhere. It’s all about priorities, and the committee has to make tough decisions about where and how we spend the money the congregation allocates to us.

“We understand that the islanders have high expectations – so do we – but we cannot afford to have everything and given the island’s financial challenges and the structure of our healthcare system, which is neither totally free at the time of delivery, Difficult choices still ahead lie NHS or fully private.”

The committee says any patient who has been billed for care in A&E that is “specifically attributable to their diagnosis” since the fees were introduced in May 2022 can request a refund via email EDInvoices@gov.gg.

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