Scrutiny calls for free primary healthcare for children
9th November 2022
The Children, Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel (CEHA) is calling for the provision of free primary healthcare for all children in Jersey in an amendment to the Government's Proposed Common Strategy Policy. Should States Members approve the Panel's amendment, the number of children and young people able to access healthcare free of charge would increase from 2,642, to approximately 14,000, based on 2021 census data.
The amendment follows research undertaken by the CEHA Panel, consultation with key stakeholders and feedback from children and young people, which highlights the existence of health inequalities among children living in Jersey. One inequality which concerns the Panel is that there were found to be differences in levels of childhood obesity depending on where children lived in Jersey, and whether they attended a fee-paying or non-fee-paying school.
In calling for this change, the Panel is also asking the Government to develop a model of funding that is financially sustainable in the long-term. If the amendment is adopted, the Panel is keen to ensure that a balanced approach is taken so that improved healthcare access for children and young people does not mean diminished healthcare access for other patient groups.
Deputy Catherine Curtis, Chair of the Children, Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel commented: "Cost is an important factor affecting children's access to primary healthcare services such as GP appointments. The Panel recognises that the cost of healthcare appointments can be a source of worry and concern for children themselves, and that it can sometimes prevent people from seeing a GP. The Panel members agree that Government should work towards the principle of removing these cost barriers and help more children and young people access the healthcare they need".
The amendment is due to be debated in the States meeting commencing 22 November 2022.
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