Jersey hospital prescriptions may more cost in future

Deputy Anne Pryke
Image caption Deputy Anne Pryke said the change would reduce waiting times

Prescriptions at Jersey's hospital could cost more under new plans being considered by the health minister.

Deputy Anne Pryke wants to introduce charges to ease the pressure on waiting times and workload.

Prescription fees were removed five years ago but now could be reinstated for hospital-prescribed items to encourage people to use their GP.

Deputy Pryke said if approved it would cost £5 per item per month, and be introduced from October 2013.

Daphne Minihane, of Age Concern, criticised the move.

She said: "Every penny counts for an older person, so if they have three or four prescriptions from a visit to the hospital that is £20. That's a lot of money.

"What are they doing? Putting more money into hospital or trying to keep people out of hospital?

"They're coming up with all these outrageous money-saving devices. How about cutting civil servants at the hospital who are paid a large amount of money?"

Under the proposed scheme, people suffering with long-term illnesses, which require several medicines, would be able to pre-pay a single annual charge of £100 for a full year of prescriptions.

Deputy Pryke said: "It is never easy to re-introduce charges once they have been removed. However, we believe this proposal offers significant benefits.

"The intention is to remove the existing financial incentive for patients to request a prescription from the hospital clinic for medicines they could normally obtain from their GP.

"As well as significantly increasing the workload through the Hospital Pharmacy, the current arrangement encourages patients to remain under follow up at the hospital for conditions that could safely be managed by their GP, thereby increasing hospital waiting times."

The average cost of a GP consultation in Jersey is £37.70 but can vary depending on the medical practice and doctor.

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