Our Health, Our Future
At a time when many governments across the world are cutting their healthcare budgets, I’m proud to say that, by 2019, Jersey will be investing an extra £38.5 million per year into health and social care as part of the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP).
There’s no question about how necessary this investment is. We’re living longer – which is a fantastic thing – but that does mean that our health and social care service will be required to provide care for Islanders with increasingly complex care needs.
Currently there are 17,000 people over 65 in Jersey; by 2035, there will be 28,000. Our health and social care system needs investment to deal with these changes and to make sure we’re providing all our citizens with the care they need.
Alongside supporting our ageing population, we know that Islanders want to access health and social care in the community as much as possible and reduce time spent in hospital. This is reflected in the changes we’re already making to health and social care, which we will continue to make using the funding from the MTFP.
Building on the 2012 White Paper ‘Caring for Each Other, Caring for Ourselves’, we’ve already invested in community services, including ‘Step Up, Step Down’ beds, which help to avoid the need for a hospital stay or aid the recovery of people leaving hospital. The services we have invested in include:
- the Community Oxygen Service, which provides oxygen therapy in the home
- Jersey Talking Therapies, which provides adults who are facing mental health difficulties with quick and easy access to a range of talking therapies
- the Rapid Response team, which provides care in people’s homes to avoid hospital admission, or to help those who have come home from hospital
- the Reablement team, which helps people recover essential skills at home, so that they can live well for longer
- Maternal Early Sustained Home Visiting (MECSH), which provides support to mothers and families who have additional needs from the antenatal period until the child reaches the age of two
- Community Midwifery, which provides all pregnant women in the scheme with a named community midwife who provides continuity of care
- greater access to pulmonary rehabilitation classes for Islanders with lung conditions
- Children’s Community Short Breaks
We now want to build on this work using the MTFP funds to see even more investment in children’s services, mental health services, out of hospital (community and primary) care, and healthy lifestyles, to ensure we’re focusing on prevention as much as cure.
In particular, our areas of focus will be:
- safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, improving outcomes for the most vulnerable, providing high quality child protection and fostering services
- implementing the Mental Health Strategy, which includes investing in recovery models and dementia care
- further investing in integrated physical and mental health care for people in their own homes, for example for people with long term conditions such as lung disease
- implementing the Sustainable Primary Care strategy, to support more services being provided in GP practices and pharmacies
- supporting a Health and Wellbeing Framework that connects existing health improvement and preventative strategies
- updating and improving regulation of care services
- investment in transforming hospital services, to ensure that we avoid hospital attendance, reduce admissions and minimise the length of stay in hospital for those who do require admission. This is essential to provide sufficient capacity until the opening of the Future Hospital
Our Future Hospital is naturally a focus point for our future health needs. We now have a preferred option for this project, which is to build on the southern half of the existing Hospital site and adjoining land in Newgate Street and Kensington Place; you can find out more detail here. The proposition for the new Hospital will be debated in November, when I hope it will be supported by States Members. Our subsequent aim is to relocate existing services and have the site clear so that building work can commence at the start of 2019.
Our investment in community care will directly inform and support the Future Hospital build, as more support and care in the community means we will have a future hospital with the right number of beds.
Alongside investment in all these crucial areas, we will also be making sure we’re eliminating any waste or inefficiency. We will do this by reviewing and improving long-term care services, reviewing charges and subsidies, and through working with the eGov team and Digital Jersey to streamline services using technology.
Underpinning all our work is the principle that nothing is more important than our health. We know that difficult choices have to be made to make sure that we’re doing our best for all islanders – but I believe the MTFP is an excellent springboard for a healthy future. Our priority is to make sure that citizens receive excellent care that provides a high quality of life, and our investment will help us to make this a reality for Islanders.