"JERSEY'S EVENING PROPAGANDA"
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Wednesday, April 11, 2012
"Doctors Fees Back On The Menu"
Calls to drop doctors fees for the vulnerable
A Jersey Deputy is calling for vulnerable islanders to have free access to their GP.
Geoff Southern says many people struggle with medical costs and some do not go to the doctor when they need to.
The average price of a consultation is £37.70, but can vary depending on the medical practice and doctor.
On a recent visit to the island, Dr. Iona Heath, President of the Royal College of General Practitioners, pointed out that the high cost of GP visits increasingly presents problems for those on low incomes.
Dr Heath said: "We absolutely know that payment for attendance worsens health inequalities so that poor people have to think twice before they see their GP, and they do have worse health problems to start with.
"It also encourages people to go to the hospital where it's free - and hospital care is a high cost to the community."
The Health department is currently reviewing the healthcare system in Jersey.
And GP's have been working with the government to allay the costs.
For those with children, paying for medical care can make a big dent in household finances. So doctors have already introduced free immunisation for children.
And they want to offer a better deal for those with long-term illnesses.
But doctors' hands are tied. Ultimately, it will be up to the States to decide how to reform the healthcare system.
At the same time, Jersey's Consumer Council is holding a review of GP charges.