Guernsey States approve £14m to make medical treatments available

Latex gloved hand using syringe. Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The policy would phase in 93 drugs and treatments currently unavailable in Guernsey's health service

Increased access to medical drugs and treatments for patients in Guernsey has been approved by the States.

Deputies agreed to phase in wider access to NHS approved treatments at an estimated cost of £14m over two years.

Currently, 160 out of 480 NICE technology appraisal drug and non-drug treatments must be funded privately by patients if they wish to to access them.

The change will make 93 of these available on Guernsey's health service.

The policy passed the States by 38 votes to one, after being proposed by the Committee for Health and Social Care (HSC) in November.

The cost of the shift has been estimated by HSC to be £5.6m in the first year and £8.3m in the second year.

These represent the most cost-effective treatments approved by NICE, according to the policy.

Deputies agreed the initial funding would come from general tax revenue, until the States are able to implement changes to obtain it from HSC's reserves.

They also approved the launch of a review of the initial implementation, as well as the possibility of introducing further treatments.

The review will lay out:

  • Details for long-term funding plans for the treatments made available in the first two years
  • Proposals outlining the feasibility of introducing more expensive therapies
  • Any funding arrangements for introducing these additional drugs and treatments

Politicians agreed £150,000 of funding in order to put the review before the States.

President of HSC Heidi Soulsby said Guernsey needed to manage the "inexorable rise" of healthcare costs.

Deputy Soulsby described the medical treatment industry as "evolving fast", creating uncertainty for estimating future expenditure.

She said "quite a bit of work" was needed to ascertain "viable new funding sources" to make more expensive treatments available to patients.

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