14/10/2013

Free GP Care For Children Under Five Secured

The Department of Health says it has secured funding in the 2014 Budget enough to ensure it can supply free GP care for children aged five years and under next year.

It is thought 240,000 families will benefit from the scheme, expected to cost about €40m.

The free GP care would not cover medicines that can be prescribed for those aged five and under.

Stricter income thresholds for medical cards are expected to contribute towards the cost of the new plan.

The government is currently attempting to phase in a scheme to provide GP care for residents in Ireland, free of charge.

The overall health budget in 2014 is expected to be cut by several hundred million euro next year.

But Chairman of the Irish Medical Organisation's GP Committee Dr Ray Walley told RTÉ's Today programme that the move is a publicity stunt.

He asked why the children of barristers, judges, doctors and teachers should receive a medical card when they can afford to pay for GP care, while others were losing their discretionary medical cards.

(IT/CD)

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