The health and wellbeing of the people of our Bailiwick has never been more important than this momentous year when Covid-19 changed everything about the way humans interact. It has focused attention on many aspects of the services we provide to keep us well and the importance of ensuring access to quality healthcare for all.
ACHIEVEMENTS IN MY FIRST TERM
The oversight of many aspects of the provision of our healthcare services is undertaken by the Committee for Health & Social Care (HSC) and I joined them in January 2018 shortly after the approval by the States of HSC’s keynote policy the “Partnership of Purpose”. That policy set the scene for the good work achieved throughout this term by a Committee of which I am proud to have been a member.
The Partnership of Purpose sets out how HSC aimed to transform health and care services by bringing together providers to deliver integrated care which places the user at its centre and provides greater focus on prevention, support and care in the community and makes every contact count.
There are many tasks that HSC was required to complete most of which have been started such as
the completion of three Health Needs Assessments in order to plan ongoing service delivery with a view to improving health and wellbeing and reducing health inequalities
the creation of the Health Improvement Commission and has already been working with other organisations to promote healthy living.
the introduction or regulation for health care services
the Review of the Funding of Drugs, Treatments and Devices and the Resolution to adopt, on a non-statutory basis, a policy of funding drugs and treatments in receipt of a Technology Appraisal from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, including those drugs approved for funding from the Cancer Drug Fund
prevention measures such as free contraceptives for under 21s and self-referral to Healthy Minds.
SO WHAT’S NEXT? 2020 ONWARDS
When asked what my number one priority was when on HSC, my answer was free access to primary healthcare. Work has been started on this but it is not an easy and it is expensive to introduce this but I hope we can continue to work towards this such as through initiatives as the reduction in costs of GP appointments for children.
In the meantime, we must concentrate on fulfilling the work set out in the Partnership of Purpose by the provision of access to quality healthcare for all with an emphasis on mental health services and support for carers. We need to see the Mental Health & Wellbeing Centre firmly established and respite care which is affordable available when needed. We need equal access to healthcare and support for older people and vulnerable groups through improving community care.
Another extremely important decision of the Assembly in early 2018 was to direct the Policy & Resources Committee to undertake a strategic review of the terms and conditions attached to nursing and midwifery professionals employed by the States of Guernsey. In November 2019 with no report in sight, the States directed P&R to report on the findings of the review of terms & conditions of public sector workers by March 2020 which included the recommendation of a timeframe for the achievement of fair and equal pay within the public sector. Unfortunately, that review, whilst referenced in Revive & Thrive, has yet to materialise.
Whilst ensuring suitable key worker housing is important, achieving equal pay for work of equal value in the public sector is of paramount importance. However, this must be done in a fair and co-ordinated manner whilst eradicating anomalies such as automatic increases in salary unconnected with performance. But, most importantly, it must fulfil the long-time promise to pay healthcare works especially nurses the pay rise they deserve.
Covid-19 remains ever present and so supporting HSC, Dr Brink and the fabulous team that brought us through earlier this year must be a priority. If I am not on HSC again, I will do my best to assist in whatever way I can to ensure that Guernsey and the Bailiwick is able to deal with whatever the virus throws at us. Together.
Photo from States of Guernsey Facebook Page