Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands, and a popular destination for expats. It attracts professionals working in various sectors, from tourism to finance, as well as retirees looking for a different pace of life.
While it’s a British Crown Dependency, Jersey is self-governed and not part of the United Kingdom. The island’s healthcare system isn’t part of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), though it is loosely modelled on it. So, while there may be some similarities, it has different rules and operating procedures. Jersey is also not part of the EU, so its healthcare scheme is managed completely independently.
Jersey is generally considered to provide a very good standard of care, with well-trained and experienced medical professionals and modern facilities. However, as an island with a small population, there are limitations to Jersey’s medical resources.
For example, it only has one public hospital, Jersey General Hospital, which is supported by a small number of primary care clinics and community health services throughout the island. They’re able to offer a range of services between them, but certain specialisms might not be available on the island. In such cases, you may need to travel to the UK or mainland Europe for any treatment that isn’t available locally.
Jersey’s public healthcare system is called the Jersey Health Service (JHS), which is funded through general taxation and social security contributions. The system provides a range of healthcare services to all residents for free, including emergency and non-emergency hospital care, mental health services and maternity care.
Emergency hospital care is free to anyone who needs it, regardless of residency status. Meanwhile, doctors and dentists in Jersey are all privately run, so everyone will have to pay for their appointments. The public healthcare system, however, can help reduce doctors costs and provide free prescriptions to residents. This public system is also accessible to expats, as long as you meet certain criteria and have lived on the island for more than six months.
While public healthcare services are provided by Jersey General Hospital and a network of primary care clinics, private healthcare is also available on the island. There are several private hospitals and clinics in operation throughout Jersey, which may be able to offer more specialist treatment options and reduced waiting times.
If you’re an expat living and working on the island, the Jersey healthcare system might seem slightly complex at first. To understand how it works for expats, and what you need to do to make the most of it, we’ve broken it down into three main components:
Treatment in the emergency department at Jersey General Hospital is free for anyone that needs it, regardless or residency status. This includes a free ambulance service. So, in an emergency you can be assured that you’ll be able to get to the hospital and receive urgent treatment, no matter how long you’ve lived on the island. Or even if you’re just visiting.
But if you're admitted to hospital, you’d need to pay for any ongoing treatment or non-emergency care unless you’re a resident, in which case you may be eligible for free hospital care (see below).
When you’ve been a resident of Jersey for at least six months, and you’re working on the island, you may become eligible for free non-emergency hospital treatment. This includes treatment provided outside of Jersey General Hospital’s emergency department, hospital stays, follow-up care and outpatient appointments.
Jersey has a charging policy, which outlines who is potentially eligible for free healthcare and non-emergency hospital treatment. See the ‘eligibility’ section below for an overview and to see whether you meet the criteria.
Doctors’ practices in Jersey are all private businesses, so you’ll have to pay for any visit, regardless of your residency status. The cost for an appointment will vary from one doctor to another and could be higher if you receive any additional services, like vaccinations or blood tests.
When you’ve been a resident of Jersey for at least six months, and paying social security contributions, you’ll be able to get a health card. This will enable you to get money off the cost of an appointment with a doctor, and any medication the doctor prescribes should be free of charge.
Although Jersey is officially defined as a British Crown Dependency, it’s completely self-governed and has its own set of eligibility conditions.
Access to the healthcare system in Jersey, including free non-emergency healthcare, is available to residents that have lived in Jersey for six consecutive months and are in possession of a health card.
The rules and requirements for becoming a resident are different for British citizens, EU or EEA nationals, and people with a work permit who live and work in Jersey. We cannot advise on how to apply for residency, but you’ll need to show that you’ve been there for six months and have been paying social security contributions. Then you can apply for your health card via Jersey’s government website.
Of course, everyone’s circumstances are different so you should check your eligibility before your move.
Jersey has reciprocal health agreements with a select few countries. These allow citizens of Jersey to access healthcare in other countries and vice versa. It’s important to note that these agreements are intended for holidaymakers and temporary visitors. It shouldn’t be looked at as a long-term solution.
These agreements tend to allow visitors to access the same healthcare services at the same costs as a resident. But they generally only cover you for a limited period of time and there are certain services and circumstances that may not be covered, so these agreements shouldn’t be relied on instead of healthcare cover.
Countries with health agreements include the United Kingdom, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Austria, France, Portugal, Australia and New Zealand, as well as some of the other Channel Islands.
One condition that applies to almost everyone is that you must have lived in Jersey for at least six months before you can access the public healthcare system or apply for a health card. So, while emergency treatment is free, you won’t be eligible for any other free public healthcare or discounted doctors’ appointments for the first six months.
During that time, you and your family would need to pay for any non-emergency care, as well as evacuation if you needed treatment that’s not available on the island, so it’s worth considering a private healthcare plan to cover you for the first six months at least. A healthcare plan could also cover any costs that aren’t included in Jersey’s public healthcare system, including doctors’ appointments, dental care and certain medications.
Our Islands Health Plan is specifically designed for both people moving to the Channel Islands, and residents looking for more medical options in the UK and Europe. It provides extra reassurance that you’ll be able to get the care you need.
In Jersey, all doctors surgeries are run as private businesses, which means everyone has to pay. You’ll need to be registered with a doctor to access routine check-ups, prescriptions and specialist referrals.
While you need to wait six months to get a health card, which gives you a price reduction on doctors services, you can register with a doctor as soon as you move, so it’s worth doing that as soon as possible. Doctors prices can vary, and they may charge extra for additional services like injections and blood tests.
The emergency department at Jersey General Hospital is open 24 hours a day, and you don’t need an appointment. The island’s ambulance service is also free in an emergency.
The emergency number is 999.
While emergency services are free for everyone in Jersey, you’ll need to pay for additional treatment or non-emergency appointments unless you’re eligible for free healthcare under Jersey's public system.
You’ll usually be asked to pay at the point you’ve received treatment so, if you have private healthcare cover, you’ll need to claim it back. If you have a health card, you just need to present it when you have a doctor’s appointment to get money off your bill.
You won’t be able to apply for a health card until you’ve been in Jersey for six months. During that time, you’ll have to pay the full cost for any medication that your doctor prescribes. Once you’ve obtained your health card, however, doctors prescriptions are free. You just need to show your health card at the pharmacy when collecting your prescription.
Different rules apply for any prescription that’s issued by a doctor at the hospital. These would need to be picked up at the on-site hospital pharmacy, and they may incur a charge.
There’s a lot to consider when moving to Jersey, but with our Islands Health Plan, you’ll have one less thing to worry about. We’ll help you settle into your new life with the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’ve always got somewhere to turn for help.
With the Virtual Doctor service, you can have a medical consultation with a real doctor wherever you are in the world – from the comfort of your home, hotel or office. Better still, there are doctors on call and available 24/7.1
Jersey is a unique and unforgettable island, whether you’re visiting or starting a new life. Our comprehensive healthcare cover is here to ensure you can relax and enjoy every minute of it.
Our Virtual Doctor service lets you speak to an experienced doctor over the phone or by video from anywhere in the world in a number of different languages, including English, Spanish and Mandarin.1
We work closely with trusted local healthcare providers across our network, so we can often pay claims directly. This means less hassle for you, as you’re not left out of pocket.
Our dedicated care team is available by phone from 9am to 5pm UK time for members receiving cancer treatment on the mainland. They offer a range of services to help you through this difficult time.
Living in the Jersey could present a unique situation where you might need to travel to the mainland for certain medical services. Our team can arrange for your evacuation and repatriation.
Jersey is home to friendly people and a unique way of life. But it always takes time to settle in, so our Mind Health service is here to connect you to qualified mental health experts for support when you need it.2
If you’re ever uncertain about a treatment plan, you can get an independent second medical opinion from an international network of experts. 3
Whether you’re starting a new role in Jersey or relocating for a work assignment, we offer comprehensive expat insurance cover, as well as optional benefits that you can tailor to your needs.
If you family live or are relocating to Jersey, the last thing you want is to let a health worry interfere with enjoying life. Discover how our Islands Health Plan could cover you and your family’s general health as well as emergencies.
Jersey’s laid-back way of life and excellent standard of healthcare makes it a very popular destination for people to escape for their retirement. Our Islands Health Plan includes cover for emergency transport, hospital treatment and scans, as well as the option to add dental and optical services.
*Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am-5pm (GMT).
Calls may recorded and/or monitored for quality assurance, training and as a record of the conversation.
The Virtual Doctor, Mind Health and Second Medical Opinion services are provided by Teladoc Health.
Local insights have been approved by Oban International’s LIME (Local In-Market Expert) network. - https://obaninternational.com/lime-network/
1 The Virtual Doctor service is provided by Teladoc Health. Appointments are subject to availability. You do not need to pay or claim for a consultation, but you will be charged for the cost of the initial phone call when using the call back service. You won’t be charged if you request a call back using the app or online portal. Telephone appointments are available 24/7/365 and call-backs are typically within 24 hours. Telephone appointments in Greek are available between 9amand 9pm EET, seven days a week. Video appointments in English, Spanish and Mandarin are available between 8am and midnight UK time, Monday to Friday. Video appointments in German are available between 8am and 8pm CET, Monday to Friday.
2 This service provides you with access to six sessions with a psychologist, per mind health concern, per policy year. Mind Health psychologist appointments are available in English and Spanish between Monday and Friday, 09.00 - 17.30 (UK time)
3 Service provided by Teladoc Health