Wednesday 30 November 2022
The Committee for Health & Social Care has decided to reinstate the previous policy whereby cancer patients receive treatment at the Emergency Department without charge.
This is in addition to the 48-hour exemption that is in place to ensure that anyone attending the Emergency Department after receiving treatment for their condition is not charged.
However, the Committee remains absolutely committed to providing services that are equitable for all patients. As such, this decision has been made on an interim basis while a review is carried out to see whether it is financially achievable to treat patients with life-limiting illnesses equitably when receiving treatment in the Emergency Department.
The Committee has taken very seriously the strength of feeling from the community on this issue and has listened to the feedback. At all times the Committee's focus has been on seeking to treat all patients fairly and health equality for all.
While making this decision, the Committee wanted to take the opportunity to emphasise to the community that difficult decisions will need to be taken as the Committee seeks to balance the expectations of islanders with island's difficult financial position and global staffing challenges within health and care.
Pending the outcome of the review on ED charging policy cancer patients attending ED for treatment specifically attributable to their illness will not be charged either for attendance or treatment.
Deputy Al Brouard, President of the Committee for Health & Social Care, said:
'We are part of the community, we have listened to the community and we can see the strength of feeling that exists about this issue. As such we have responded. But, and it's a big but, our Committee continues to be absolutely committed to providing health services that are equitable to all. We don't want to "level down" but we also don't have a bottomless pit of money, and we originally made a decision that we felt was in the interests of treating patients fairly.
'We will now take some time to work through the issues to see if there is any way we could find the money to make ED charging fairer for all in our community. It is an inescapable truth, however, that the cost of doing so will likely mean we have to make a difficult decision elsewhere. This is all about priorities and the Committee is faced with making difficult decisions about where and how we spend the money the Assembly allocates us. We understand islanders have high expectations - we do too - but we cannot afford to have it all and tough decisions lie ahead given the island's financial challenges and the structure of our health system which is neither completely free at the point of delivery, like the NHS, or fully private.'
If any cancer patient has attended ED for treatment since May, we will refund any charges for care specifically attributable to their diagnosis. Please contact EDInvoices@gov.gg