Govt Agree Publication Of Free Children's GP Care Legislation

The government has agreed to publish the legislation that will pave the way for free GP care for children aged 5 and under.

Fine Gael TDs and members of Oireachtas Health Committee, Jerry Buttimer and Regina Doherty, welcomed the news, with Deputy Buttimer saying: "I am very pleased that the Government has reached agreement on the legislation to introduce free GP care for children aged 5 and under.

"By removing barriers to medical care we can make it easier for health problems to be spotted at an early age, which will have a major impact on long term health outcomes.

"This is a hugely positive public health initiative, and will be strongly welcomed by middle income families who are feeling the pinch. Once this legislation is enacted, a parent will never again be forced to choose between paying a bill and bringing their child to the GP.

"I know concerns remain for GPs, but I am confident that an agreement can be reached that is supported by all sides."

Deputy Doherty said: "Almost a quarter of a million children will benefit from this initiative once it is fully introduced. In the years to come, I believe the introduction of free GP care for young children will be looked back upon as a major advancement in public health provision.

"I noted with interest a recent Trinity College study which found that GP visits are only expected to increase by one or two per week under free GP care. This should help to allay concerns that free care will suddenly lead to GPs being inundated.

"I know from my own experience as a mum that you only want to bring your child to the doctor if they are sick – this Government wants to make sure that money doesn't get in the way.

"I would like to encourage the IMO to engage and fully embrace the negotiation process. The organisation has been written on three occasions and they have yet to respond. They need to come in and sit at the table so we can hammer out an agreement; this can't be achieved by negotiating over the airwaves."


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