The Health and Social Services Department (HSSD) is to withdraw its proposal to re-introduce prescription charges for outpatients at Jersey General Hospital.
After listening to the views of the public, and considering feedback from the HSSD Scrutiny Panel, the Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Anne Pryke, has decided to withdraw Proposition P72./2013.
The Minister said that proposed amendments from the Scrutiny Panel, including widening the exemptions for hospital prescription charges to cover those with long-term conditions, and the over-75s, would have critically affected the viability of the proposition.
“I appreciate the sentiment behind the suggested additional exemptions, but if these were to be added, the proposition would no longer achieve its primary aim, which is to put prescribing back into the community,” said Deputy Pryke.
The Minister stressed that it remains the intention of HSSD to encourage prescribing of medicines for outpatients to be managed through local GP surgeries, as they should be. Following further discussion, she has identified that this can effectively be achieved through revision and mandatory reinforcement of an existing policy that precludes hospital consultants from issuing prescriptions to both private and public outpatients for medicines that should ordinarily be prescribed by GPs.
“With the exception of prescribing a one-off, emergency supply, in cases where there is a compelling clinical need to do so, outpatients will be directed back to their GPs for prescriptions,” explained Deputy Pryke. “Certain conditions, such as approved cancer drugs, psychiatric treatments and hospital-prescribed only drugs, will remain exempt from the policy, but this system will achieve our aim of encouraging more patients to be managed in the community.”
The new option for managing hospital prescriptions will significantly reduce waiting times for inpatient drugs to be dispensed to wards by the Hospital Pharmacy, as well as impacting on consultant outpatient waiting lists, as patients no longer need to see a consultant for their repeat prescriptions.
It will also help to achieve HSSD’s goal of reducing Hospital Pharmacy costs, which will contribute to the department’s Comprehensive Spending Review savings targets.