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IMO accuses Reilly of 'racing ahead' with extension of free GP care

GPs are also reporting “extensive unease” among patients over the withdrawal of discretionary medical cards.

Minister for Health, Jame Reilly.
Minister for Health, Jame Reilly.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

THE IRISH MEDICAL Organisation has accused Health Minister James Reilly of “racing ahead” with proposals to extend free GP visit cards to all children under six and to all citizens by 2016.

After a meeting yesterday, attended by 150 IMO GPs from across the country, Dr Ray Walley, Chairman of the organisation’s GP Committee, said: “I believe it can not be justified to extend these cards so widely while at the same time withdrawing medical cards from patients who are utterly dependent on them.”

“This is a question of priorities and in health, we have to focus scarce resources on those who need our help most,” he added.

Walley said that members continue to report “extensive unease” amongst patients” about the withdrawal of discretionary medical cards.

Even patients who don’t have cards or who aren’t losing their cards are complaining about the callousness of the new approach to discretionary Medical Cards.

The meeting yesterday marked the formal launch of the new #resourceGP campaign which is seeking to have the issue of General Practice “put centre-stage in the debate on healthcare”.

Related: Reilly: Everyone will have free GP care by 2016, IMO: There’s no hope of that>

Read: Hospital chiefs write to HSE saying cuts are threatening patient safety>

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