Visiting a family doctor or GP in Jersey

Doctors who work in general practice are known as General Practitioners (GPs) – or family doctors. In Jersey GPs surgeries are private businesses, so you have to pay to see them.

There are often a variety of professionals available at a surgery, including for example physiotherapists, counsellors, podiatrist, osteopath, nurse, and a midwife.

Fees vary from surgery to surgery and additional charges may be made for services like injections and blood tests

For the first six months after you arrive in Jersey, you will have to pay the full cost if you need to visit a GP. Once you have been in Jersey six months and you have paid any Social Security contributions that are due, you will be able to apply for a Social Security health card. Showing this card at your GP’s surgery will give you a discount of £20.00 off the fee.

 

Making the most of your visit to the doctor

Here are a few tips…to make the most of your time with your Doctor
Don’t be afraid to ask 
simple questions before and during your appointment.

Be prepared…lists will always help and read them out at the start of your appointment. This helps the doctor to see the whole picture and to avoid leaving the embarrassing ailment until you are about to leave.

Try to pre-empt your doctor’s routine questions, prepare answers for: ‘how long has it been going on? Have you had it before and has anyone in the family had the same thing? And be specific and upfront about your history.

A symptom diary can help; these are helpful for tracking times when symptoms hit.

Your doctor may ask you to return to discuss one of your problems – it maybe that he or she feels that it deserves more time and a more detailed evaluation. A repeat visit will almost certainly incur a further charge.

 

How to choose your doctor


• Family & friend’s recommendation
• Accessibility & your needs; car parking, bus stops, wheel chair etc.
• Opening times
• Visit the doctors and see how you feel and how the receptionist greets you – do you feel comfortable?

 

Doctor’s fees

Doctors’ fees can vary – Doctors can charge whatever they wish. You should check how much your consultation and any additional service; injections, letters etc. will cost before and during your appointment and agree the fee with your doctor.

You need a health card to get a subsidy when you visit your GP and to get subsidised free prescriptions.

It’s a good idea to ask your doctor about costs and what the arrangements are for payment before your treatment begins.

 

Prescriptions in Jersey

If you have not been in Jersey long enough to have a health card (six months), you will have to pay the full cost of any prescription from your GP.

If you have a Social Security health card, prescriptions are free. Show your health card at any community pharmacy. Different rules apply to prescriptions from a hospital doctor, which must be collected from the hospital pharmacy and may involve a charge.

Whilst the majority of GP prescription items are free, there are some exceptions. A list of items that are free on prescription can be obtained from the Social Security Department or by downloading the latest prescribed list.

Social Security health card

You need a health card to get a subsidy when you visit your GP and to get subsidised free prescriptions.

If you have lived in Jersey for six months or more, and you have paid any Social Security contributions that are due, then you are entitled to a Social Security health card.

Children do not need their own health card. If you have a baby, then you should take their birth certificate to the Social Security Department to get a Social Security number. You will be given a Doctor’s Registration form. You will need this if you take your child to the GP or pick up a prescription on their behalf.

You must have your own health card. You cannot use someone else’s health card.

Hospital treatment

Your health card does not automatically entitle you to free hospital treatment. The Health and Social Services Department will only provide free emergency hospital treatment (in the Emergency Department). You have to pay for other hospital treatment and services unless you meet one of the following conditions:

• you have been living in Jersey for at least 12 months prior to treatment
• you have been living in Jersey for at least six months prior to treatment during which time you have been in regular paid employment or paying income tax and you have a valid health card
• you are in ‘J’ category employment

This includes previous residents who have lived or worked elsewhere for five years or more.

Exemptions include:

• the cost of treatments covered by an agreement between Jersey and your country of residence or previous residence (known as a reciprocal health agreement)
• if you are visiting an official capacity (e.g. as consul or ambassador)
• if you require treatment for certain diseases or conditions

 

What should I do if I am unhappy with my experience?

If you are unhappy with your experience for any reason, your doctor’s practice will have their own query or complaints procedure and most issues can usually be dealt with in this way. Speak to them first to see if you can settle the problem.

If you are still unhappy, further help is available.

Complaints regarding fees:

With so many different fees being charged from practice to practice, or even doctor to doctor, there will be times when a patient may wish to question their bill. Before making a complaint elsewhere, you should take the matter up with the receptionist/secretary of the practice concerned. If still unhappy there is a mediator who works for the General Practitioners and the Social Security Department who will offer their opinion on the matter. The contact number for the mediator is available from the Community Benefits Section of the Social Security Department.

Complaints about conduct

Complaints about conduct of General Practitioners should be referred to the Primary Care Team, see link

 

Vaccinations

Flu

The annual publicly funded flu vaccination programme is aimed at protecting people aged 65 or over, those with long-term medical conditions aged under 65, pregnant women and children, against flu ahead of the coming winter months.

Flu immunisations for these groups will start from Monday 1st October 2018. Communications, advertising and publicity will be co-ordinated to support the start date using traditional and social media platforms and information will be available on www.gov.je/flu. Flu vaccinations for children in schools will commence on 8th October and in nurseries from 15th October – these start dates are to ensure sufficient quantities of the children’s nasal flu vaccine are on island and distributed to immunisers.

Travel Clinics

Please remember! Don’t leave your vaccination arrangements until the last minute. Some vaccinations require a course of injections, several weeks apart, some 4-6 weeks.

All you need to do is:

1. Ask your Travel Agent for a detailed travel itinerary.
2. Visit: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk website to see what you will require
3. Make a note of what fit for travel website recommends.

Ask your GP practice if they can assist you or who they would recommend.
A medical assessment will be done before any vaccines or medication are given and therefore a GP/Doctor, will need to know all about you.

All Travel Clinic appointments are chargeable and there is a charge for all vaccinations

Moving or returning to live in Jersey

If you are new to the Island you must register with the Social Security Department as soon as you arrive. Although you will not be able to get your health card for six months, the six months are counted from when you first register.

Once you have been here six months and have paid any Social Security contributions that are due, you will be eligible for a Social Security health card.

If you return to Jersey after living away, you can use your health card straight away but only to visit a GP or to get free GP prescriptions. You may not be able to get free hospital treatment or social services care.

External information

Doctor/General Practitioner Services for visitors/newcomers
https://www.gov.je/Health/DoctorDentist/Doctors/Pages/HealthCard.aspx

Jersey.Doctors (J-Doc) Out of Hours Service
https://www.gov.je/health/doctordentist/doctors/pages/outhours.aspx

About the Pension Plus scheme

The Pension Plus scheme started on 1 January 2017 and replaced the 65+ Health Plan.

It is a States funded scheme to help lower-income pensioners aged 65 or over with the costs of the following services:

  • dental
  • optical
  • chiropody

It’s run and administered by Social Security.

https://www.gov.je/Benefits/PensionsRetirement/PensionPlusScheme/Pages/AboutPensionPlusScheme.aspx

Health agreements between Jersey and other countries

​​​​​​​​​​
Jersey has health agreements with a number of different countries. These agreements provide some free health care, or health care at a lower cost, if you are taken ill while on holiday. Only urgent treatment will be provided. You are therefore strongly advised to ensure you have insurance in place.
Most agreements only cover you as a visitor, not if you are living or working in the other country.

If you live in Jersey and are taken ill while visiting another country, you cannot claim a refund for medical bills from any States of Jersey Department.
The cost of bringing a sick person back to Jersey is never covered under any of the health agreements. You would need to pay for this yourself.

To find out more about the health agreements with other countries, ​contact the Social Security Department.​​

https://www.gov.je/Health/Travelling/Pages/OtherCountries.aspx

UK and Jersey health agreement

Reciprocal Health Agreement (RHA)
Travel insurance
What you have to pay for

https://www.gov.je/Health/Travelling/Pages/VisitingJersey.aspx