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Ten parents PER MINUTE are signing up to free GP care for under 6s

The level of uptake has been described as “phenomenal”.

Three-year-old Isabelle Heaps and Health Minister Leo Varadkar.
Three-year-old Isabelle Heaps and Health Minister Leo Varadkar.
Image: Mark Stedman

JUNIOR HEALTH MINISTER Kathleen Lynch has said there has been a “phenomenal” increase in the number of parents signing up for free GP care for under 6s.

Lynch told Newstalk Breakfast ten parents are registering for the service every minute, noting: “The system couldn’t bear the volumes that were coming in.”

The Cork North Central TD said the number of GPs signing up has “skyrocketed as well”.

Using her home county as an example, she noted that Cork initially had “a very low uptake” rate, but this has now reached up to 70%.

Lynch said she expects over 90% of GPs to sign up.

Public registration for free GP care opened last Monday. About 10,000 parents signed up in the first 24 hours, with Health Minister Leo Varadkar tweeting over the weekend that this figure had hit 40,000.

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The Department of Health reached an agreement with the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), which represents around half of Ireland’s GPs, on the scheme.

However, the National Organisation of General Practitioners (NAGP) has remained strongly opposed to the initiative – claiming it will significantly increase the workloads of already stretched general practitioners.

“The process is on the road, it’s on the way. There’s no turning back,” Lynch said.

Read: Leo tells GPs to “cop on” in heated exchange over under-sixes

Read: The website for under-sixes free GP care is down, but it is still possible to register

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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