It is time to put the focus on the Jersey Care Model

Letter to the Editor from Marie-Louise Backhurst.

Overdale Hospital. Picture: JON GUEGAN. (30580849)
Overdale Hospital. Picture: JON GUEGAN. (30580849)

ASIDE from the debate on the new acute hospital, its location and its provisions, Islanders should also now be looking in detail at the proposed Jersey Care Model. This is based on the NHS one but, of course, there are considerable differences between health-care providers in Jersey and the UK and what suits the UK will almost certainly not suit Jersey.

Having served for 25 years on the committee of what is now Family Nursing (which includes district nurses and health visitors), I know that as a charity it was always underfunded. With membership subscriptions and generous donations and legacies from grateful patients, its core funding, however, comes from the States. With the new Jersey Care Model shifting care from the hospital to the community, the pressures on Family Nursing, without a considerable increase in resources, will be untenable. Presumably with the reduction of care at the new acute hospital, perhaps there will be a concomitant decrease in management and consequently some funding available.

An emphasis on preventative medicine is to be encouraged and the health visitors play an important part in this. However, measuring the success of investment into preventative medicine takes a considerable amount of time and is difficult to assess; such investment is usually therefore considered to be of little use and consequently is underfunded.

The Jersey Care Model suggests that certain types of care, which are currently carried out in the General Hospital or at Overdale, will be in the community. The geography of the Island and, thanks to General George Don, the road network, means that all roads lead to St Helier. Decentralisation may look good in theory, but with current public transport links it is much easier, for example, to go from St Martin’s Church to St Helier than to St Clement’s parish hall. Decentralisation, apart from requiring considerable planning on suitable venues, will cost more money and, ironically, require extra journeys.

Will the future Jersey Care Model, therefore, actually mean a reduced service, but with increased costs and increases in travel?

Villefranche, Cache du Bourg, St Clement.

For more letters, comment and opinion pieces, see today's JEP.

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