Cheaper GP and dental appointments for Jersey children to be introduced by 2025

Ministers have agreed to work towards reducing the cost of primary healthcare for children in Jersey over the next three years. Credit: PA

The cost of a GP or dental appointment for children in Jersey is set to be reduced over the next three years, after politicians called on Ministers to take action by 2025.

It follows a successful amendment to the government's Common Strategic Policy proposed by the Children, Education and Home Affairs Panel.

They asked for Jersey's government to commit to free healthcare for all under 18s on the island - but the Council of Ministers suggested a compromise of agreeing to free "or lower cost" treatment instead.

What is the Common Strategic Policy?

Jersey's Ministers are legally required to publish their shared priorities and ambitions which they will be working towards during their time in government - this is known as the Common Strategic Policy.

Once agreed by the Council of Ministers, a draft version has to be put to members of the States Assembly - Jersey's parliament - for a vote, which other politicians and scrutiny panels can request their own changes to.

After politicians agreed to adopt the Common Strategic Policy, it means the government will work to reduce barriers to children receiving primary care as part of a wider review of Jersey's health system.

Most GPs provide free appointments for children up to the age of five, with older children charged around £20 for a consultation. Once islanders turn 18, they are charged approximately £55 for an appointment.

States Members agreed to take steps to reduce the cost of primary healthcare for children in Jersey.

Deputy Catherine Curtis chairs the scrutiny panel which put forward the proposal:

"It is vital to the Children, Education and Home Affairs Panel that children and young people should not be prevented from accessing primary healthcare services due to cost.

"We are delighted to see that our amendment has prompted a constructive response by government and that the States Assembly supports the principle of reducing barriers to primary care for Jersey’s children.

"The panel looks forward to seeing how this change will be taken forward by the Council of Ministers by 2025 and will monitor progress with great interest".