Council Struggling To Improve Healthcare Access For Off-Islands

st martins from tolls island  2Off-island families are experiencing difficulty accessing healthcare on St Mary’s, especially in winter, but the Council appears unable to resolve the problem.

That’s the message heard by councillors at two recent meetings, in which the Council’s Performance Manager, Keith Grossett, said the issue had remained stubbornly on the Authority’s to-do list for “too many years.”

The cost of travelling to St Mary’s, particularly in winter when there are few scheduled boats, can be a problem, particularly for people on low incomes.

Councillor Christine Savill said it can cost a family as much as £80 to get to an appointment, which she described as “not very sensible.”

Development Manager Aisling Hick said problem seemed to be particularly acute for children and families.

Access to healthcare for older people was subsidised by the Council through concessionary boat fares although Aisling said this could be jeopardised in the current economic climate.

She felt medical appointments could be better scheduled around the Thursday shopping boats in winter.

Christine said she wanted to see some action made and didn’t think the problem was insurmountable. It had been on the last action plan for four or five years and was now stuck on this one, she said, although she added it should be easy to solve with a bit of effort and budget.

Keith said he felt they’ve now identified the right people to challenge in order to address the issues and he hopes to have made significant progress by the next review.

We asked the Council when they expect to make progress, but they didn’t get back to us.

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