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Health Ministers to bring free GP plans to Government

Both Ministers for Health are working on plans to bring free GP care to Ireland, but have not decided on an age-range.

Health Minister James Reilly
Health Minister James Reilly
Image: Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland

BOTH THE MINISTER for Health James Reilly and Junior Health Minister Alex White will present proposals for free GP care to the Government in the coming months, but no decision has been made on what ages will be covered.

Reports today said that Reilly would hand free GP care to children under five. However, a Department of Health spokesperson has told TheJournal.ie that while the plan would be brought to the Government, it could cover a wider range of ages.

“What we can say, is that Minister Reilly did confirm to the MacGill Summer School that he and his Minister of State Alex White are going to go to Government with proposals on the roll out of free GP care to the entire population with an initial focus on providing young children with access to free GP care,” said the spokesperson, adding “The Minister did not specify a particular age group.”

The plans will be brought to the Dáil in autumn, the spokesperson said, but said that such matters are the subject of “ongoing work”.

Fianna Fáil’s health spokesperson Billy Kelleher told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that the idea was a “grand plan in [Reilly's] head” and said it should not be considered when medical cards are not guaranteed for seriously ill children.

“We have to make serious decisions here. Am I to be given a medical card for my child when, at the same time, we’re taking medical cards off children who have cancer?”

Read: One third of Irish people have avoided a GP visit due to money constraints

Read: Seanad to be recalled to debate transplant legislation

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