Extra £24 million needed to fund Jersey healthcare

An additional £24 million will be required this year to fund healthcare in Jersey this year and next.

This is according to the Minister of Health and Social Services, Deputy Tom Binet.

The Minister was speaking to the Health and Social Security Scrutiny Panel in a recent meeting.

Health Minister Tom Binet

Politicians heard that additional funds will be required each year across 2024 and 2025, with the figure of £24 million being dependant on more long-term savings being secured.

The Deputy said that rising costs in the healthcare sector globally, including the price of medication, have created the need for this extra money. 

His department's expected deficit has grown by £6 million in a few months, up from £18 million.

Deputy Jonathan Renouf

Deputy Jonathan Renouf, Vice-Chair of the scrutiny panel, said he's worried about this need for more funding: 

"It is concerning that the deficit in HCS funding has ballooned from £18 million a few months ago to £24 million now.

"Clearly, not just States Members but the island is going to have to have a serious debate about healthcare funding going forward." 

The scrutiny panel also questioned the Health Minister on the progress of women's health initiatives. 

It was revealed work on abortion have been halted due to 'insufficient resources'. 

A public consultation ran last year, asking about the situation in which abortions should be allowed.  This resulted in three quarter of respondents saying it should be without any justification.

READ MORE: Review Of Abortion Law

A debate on changes to the law was expected before the end of the year, but will not happen now in the current government's term.

Plans for contraception are expected to begin in the summer and work on IVF treatment has been submitted for consideration in the next Government Plan.

The panel also got an update on the investigation into patients deaths that may have resulted from care provided in the Rheumatology Department. 

This follows an independent review of the service which found care was 'below standard' and an audit that uncovered half of patients were missprescribed drugs.

READ MORE: Rheumatology Care 'Well Below' Standard

Deputy Medical Director Simon West agreed that it was 'possible or likely' that a small number of Jersey patients died as a result of their treatment.

An undisclosed number of cases of patient deaths have been referred to the Viscount  - the equivalent of the island's coroner - for further investigation. 

READ MORE: Over Half Of Rheumatology Patients Misprescribed Drugs

Questions surrounding Jersey's Hospital Pharmacy were also raised. 

It was heard that the pharmacy dispenses around four times as many drugs as a UK hospital of a similar size. 

Of these treatments, around 50% could be collected from alternative sources - from islanders' GPs or community pharmacists. 

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