A landmark agreement that saw more than 100 GPs directly employed by the government to fight covid-19 will come to an end in August due to the reduced rate of infection.
The GPs from across 13 practices, who have been working in roles across the Health Department over the last three months, will be able to resume normal services for their patients when the agreement ends.
Some of them were staffing the ‘Urgent Treatment Centre” based in the Gwyneth Huelin Wing at the hospital, as well as carrying out other responsibilities, such as supporting care in the hospital and local care homes or working with the Ambulance service.
An Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) has opened today at Jersey General Hospital to offer Islanders the urgent care they need, while ensuring that our Emergency Department only treats genuine emergencies. (1/ pic.twitter.com/aNtkitBPnn— Government of Jersey (@GovJersey) April 14, 2020
Over the last three months, this has meant that many islanders had to be triaged via phone or video consultations, with a face-to-face consultation, or a home visit, taking place only if needed.
Treatment costs were also fixed at £20 for adults and £10 for children aged five to 17, with children under five receiving free consultations.
But as Dr James Mair, on behalf of The Primary Care Body, explained, with the risk of covid-19 infection having now reduced, "it is time to restore previous services to our patients as soon as possible".
"We are in discussion with HCS to look at ways patients can be supported coming out of lockdown, and what provision should be made should a second wave occur,' Dr Mair added.
"We are also looking at the positives that have come from the necessary changes to see which of these may be utilised to improve patient care. Please rest assured all the GPs in Jersey wish to continue with the highly valued personal service to patients.”
Pictured: Dr Mair and the Health Minister rejected claims that the Jersey Care Model was being introduced by "stealth".
Announcing the end of the agreement, Dr Mair and the Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf, also took aim at allegations from a local pressure group about the Jersey Care Model.
Aiming to reassure islanders, Dr Mair said that claims from Friends of Our New Hospital that Jersey Care Model was being introduced by "stealth" were not factually correct.
"It was inaccurate and misleading," the Health Minister added. "We have developed a close and collaborative working relationship with the island’s GPs during the time of the COVID-19 emergency and we are grateful to them for their approach to joint working.
“I have personally been contacted by many Islanders on this subject and am pleased to confirm that we are in constructive talks with the GPs with the aim of improving healthcare for Islanders.
"The value of the personal relationship between GPs and patients is clear for all to see and we have no wish to make changes to that.”
Reacting to news that the GP partnership was to end, Friends of Our New Hospital representative Peter Funk commented: “We are extremely pleased that the GPs and the Minister have confirmed they will not be extending the contract between them under which the GPs were nationalised and became government employees. Continuing that relationship was one of our strong concerns.
"Debate between the government and public interest groups such as the Friends are the healthy and productive elements of any democracy. What’s all the fuss about?”
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