“Reform Jersey believes in the principle of a universal health service, free at the point of need. We believe that every Islander in need of treatment should receive it in a timely manner and without incurring costs. We believe that to guarantee the best services, we must invest not just in the new hospital building, but in the staff who care for us when we are sick.”
With an ageing population, it is imperative that we invest in our health system to make sure that all patients receive the care they need. This must remain a strategic priority of the new government, which must reduce the long, anxious and painful waiting times for elective surgery.
The Health Department has had problems with recruitment for years. We must face up to the fact that following years of cutbacks in the UK which have led to shortages of healthcare professionals at all grades, we are an expensive Island with a very high cost of living. If we are to recruit and, above all, retain professionals in the long-term, we must improve conditions and incentives for healthcare professionals to ensure we attract the best people for these jobs.
Primary Health Care
It ultimately costs less in the long run to ensure that people have their health issues addressed in the early stages, rather than put off seeking treatment until they are seriously ill. We pledge to reduce the cost of seeing a GP, initially for those on a low income, but eventually for everyone, to enable Islanders to see a doctor whenever they need to, without worrying about money. This will reduce the burden on A&E and lead to a healthier society.
1 in 4 of us will face a mental health illness at some point in our lives. It is crucial that these health issues are treated with the same seriousness that any physical health difficulty would be treated with. Currently, Jersey’s mental healthcare system falls well short of what is acceptable. Waiting lists are far too long and many vulnerable Islanders are being let down. We must invest in this service urgently, with a focus on early intervention.
The plans for a mental healthcare centre at Overdale are good, however the child and adolescent service should not be housed with the adult services.
We will also support introducing an on-Island mental health nurse training scheme, as currently exists for general nursing.
The new hospital
The debate on securing a new hospital has demonstrated Jersey politics at its worst. It is not acceptable that the government has spent £26m with so little to show for it at this stage.
Reform Jersey would seek the opinion of clinical staff to guide decisions, but generally supports building the new hospital on a site in town, where transport links are best and where little disruption can be caused. Some outpatient services can be provided at an expanded Overdale site; however, emergency and general services must be located on one site with optimal clinical adjacency to enable swift transfers between A&E and wards with minimal risk to the patient.
Care in the home
The cut in funding to the Family Nursing Home Care service was a demonstration of the “race to bottom” philosophy at its worst, which provoked many experienced carers to leave the profession.
Reform Jersey has secured a commitment to introduce a compulsory “Ethical Care Charter” to ensure those who provide care services to patients at home are well equipped to safeguard the patient’s wellbeing. We will make sure that this is implemented fully and receives the funding it requires.<< PREVIOUS NEXT >>