Guernsey residents' health must come first, says minister

Deputy Hunter Adam
Image caption Deputy Adam said Guernsey residents' health care must come first

Guernsey's Health and Social Services Minister has said the health care of local people must take priority over any attempt to develop medical tourism.

Deputy Hunter Adam said nothing should compromise the care of residents who pay social security contributions.

A report on the island's economy released last week suggested medical tourism could be an industry for Guernsey to develop in the future.

Guernsey's Medical Specialist Group (MSG) gave the idea its backing.

Medical tourism - people travelling abroad for private health treatment - was highlighted in an economic study commissioned by Guernsey's Commerce and Employment Department.

The report, written by Oxford Economics, suggested the industry could be further explored as a way of diversifying Guernsey's economy.

Doctor Mark Chandler, from the MSG, said: "We're talking about plastic surgery ... weight loss surgery, and they've also highlighted joint replacements.

"Those things are all things that are attached to relatively high prices, also are associated with relatively affluent people choosing to use their insurance to have it done."

He added that, with the right checks and balances, wealthy patients from the UK could help fund the island's health care system.

Simon Vermeulen, a local hotelier, said he welcomed the idea of health tourism.

He said it was reassuring to know the States were thinking creatively about how to boost and diversify the islands economy.

Deputy Hunter Adam said his department had been in consultation with the Medical Specialist Group on the issue.

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