Monday 29 June 2020
Health care costs for children will be reduced substantially if the States back proposals released today to invest nearly £2m. in various children's services.
Under the plans, from September 2021 the cost of a child's appointment with a GP will be cut to £25 and every child will be offered a free annual dental check-up, including fluoride varnish treatment.
An appointment at the Emergency Department at the PEH will also cost £25 and a visit to a nurse at a GP Practice will be £15.
Around £150,000 will be reallocated to education and ring fenced for enrichment and cultural activities for children at primary schools. Dental health education in schools will be strengthened and there will be a supervised tooth-brushing programme for children in pre-schools.
The costs of these services will be fully met by removing the weekly family allowance from households with gross annual income of £120,000 or more and by stopping family allowance when the child reaches 18 years of age.
The proposals have been submitted to the States jointly by three Committees: Employment & Social Security, Health & Social Care and Education, Sport & Culture. The Committees are asking the States to debate their Policy Letter at the States meeting which starts on 19th August. If approved, there would then be a notice period of one year before the changes come into effect.
Deputy Heidi Soulsby, President of the Committee for Health & Social Care, said:
"I am delighted that the three Committees have come together and found a way of ensuring that children and young people can have more affordable access to the medical and dental care that they require. These proposals are an essential part of the Committee's Partnership of Purpose and the Children and Young People's Plan so that every child and teenager is protected and cared for and has the opportunity to flourish."
Deputy Matt Fallaize, President of the Committee for Education, Sport and Culture, said:
"This additional investment in primary schools will allow us to enhance enrichment activities for children and crucially improve equality of access to enrichment activities. Invariably students who might stand to gain the most from extra-curricular activities are those most likely to face social and economic barriers which limit their opportunities to participate. This is essential social policy development funded in a pragmatic way at no additional cost to the overwhelming majority of our population."
Deputy Michelle Le Clerc, President of the Committee for Employment & Social Security, said:
"These proposals are an important step towards addressing the in-work poverty experienced by many families with children. We were required by resolution of the States to come back with a report on revising the family allowance arrangements and we think this is a very constructive response. My Committee believes it is important that we continue family allowance payments to most families for children under 18 and to withdraw them only from the highest income households. We will administer this as simply as we can, for the time being relying on a declaration from families that their gross income is below £120,000. Longer term, we expect a more automated system to be developed within the States' digitalization of services."