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Dublin: 9 °C Thursday 20 June, 2019
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Here's how many kids have been signed up for free GP care so far

The Minister for Health is happy with the progress so far.

Image: Mark Stedman

THE TRICKLE OF parents registering for free GP care for the under sixes has shown that there will not be a rush of children being needlessly brought to doctors surgeries, the Minister for Health has claimed.

Leo Varadkar made the comment as the scheme reached the landmark of 100,000 children being signed up.

Concerns still surround the service, with 14% of GPs yet to put their name to it.

The 100,000 who have signed up, combined with 150,000 children with existing medical cards, represents 60% of all under-sixes.

The Minister said he expects more parents to register over coming months.

“This gradual registration shows that parents are not rushing to be able to bring their children to a doctor and are likely to attend only as their child needs to be seen,” the Minister for Health said.

It reassures me that concerns that parents will flood GP surgeries with children who do not need to see a doctor are not well founded.

Varadkar previously told GPs opposed to the scheme to “cop on” and is still facing opposition from members of the National Organisation of General Practitioners (NAGP) who say it will substantially increase their workloads.

Read: This eight-year-old’s cancer fight has led to a big change for other children >

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Nicky Ryan

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