What are the healthcare arrangements in Guernsey?

Guernsey provides excellent healthcare delivered at a variety of good quality medical centres throughout the island and at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital (PEH).
However, it is important for residents and visitors alike to be aware that healthcare in Guernsey is completely separate from the British National Health Service (NHS) and consequently there are some important differences to be aware of. 

The Differences

If you consult with a GP or a dentist, attend the Accident & Emergency department at the hospital and even if you need to use an ambulance, these services are NOT FREE to the end user and will incur charges, as do physiotherapy, chiropody and optical treatments and services.

Guernsey’s healthcare system is funded by the Guernsey Social Security Department whose revenue comes from an earnings and income related contribution scheme paid for by local residents.

New arrivals to Guernsey should register with the Social Security Department to pay income-related contributions which will entitle them to Health Benefit.

Health Benefit Card

Health Benefit is the grant which is paid by the Social Security Department towards the cost of medical consultations with an approved doctor, at home, in medical centres and at the Accident & Emergency Department at the hospital. Grants are also available for consultations with an approved nurse in the surgery.

If you do not have a Health Benefit Card, you will be required to pay for all medical treatment.

Those who do have a Health Benefit Card will only be required to pay part of the cost of the consultation and the Health Benefit Grant will cover the remainder.

Prescription charges are also subsidised by the Health Benefit Grant.
Many islanders take out private medical insurance to cover all expenditure not covered by the Health Benefit scheme but given the bespoke nature of Guernsey’s system, it is advisable to speak to LOCAL insurance providers who can advise on the tailored insurance options available to Guernsey residents.

For help with insurance providers or for more queries related to healthcare in Guernsey, please do not hesitate to contact me.

UK Visitors

It is also important to note that if you have friends or family visiting you from the UK or Europe, they will need medical insurance for any medical treatment in Guernsey as the European Health Insurance Card is NOT valid in Guernsey.

By the same token, Guernsey residents are NOT insured for healthcare whilst travelling in the UK (even if they have previously been resident in the UK) and will need to take out adequate insurance cover.

Specialist Care

For specialist care, consultants at the Medical Specialist Group (MSG) provide care and surgery at the PEH. When patients are referred for specialist medical procedures to a specialist at the MSG by their GP, any treatment and surgery will be covered by the Health Benefit Grant and the patients will not be required to pay any additional charges.

With the current cost of calling out an ambulance being up to as much as £360, many islanders also take out an Annual Ambulance subscription with the Guernsey Ambulance and Rescue Service. With this insurance, they are not charged regardless of the number of times during the year they may need to use the service.