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Dublin: 13°C Saturday 31 July 2021

Leo tells GPs to "cop on" in heated exchange over under-sixes

The minister was accused of stroke politics and he was having none of that.

Minister Varadkar with four-year-old Oscar Power at the launch of the service last week.
Minister Varadkar with four-year-old Oscar Power at the launch of the service last week.
Image: Mark Stedman/PA

HEALTH MINISTER LEO Varadkar had an intense exchange with a number of GPs on Twitter yesterday after they hit out at him over the under-sixes service.

The minister had triumphantly tweeted that 40,000 children were already registered for free GP care and almost three quarters of doctors had signed up.

It didn’t go down well with GPs who are opposed to the scheme but Varadkar was ready to give as good as he got:

Ciara Kelly raised the National Organisation of General Practitioners’ (NAGP) exclusion from talks on the scheme, as it represents a large number of doctors.

And with a reminder that “taxpayers come first”, the health minister signed off for the night, leaving his followers to debate it out amongst themselves.

Public registration for free GP care opened last Monday. The Department of Health reached an agreement with the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), which represents around half of Ireland’s GPs, on the scheme but the NAGP has remained strongly opposed to it.

The association claims the scheme will significantly increase the workloads of already stretched general practitioners.

However Minister for Primary Care, Kathleen Lynch, said last week parents are not likely to misuse the service, stating the government had not “invented more children”.

Read: There is one area in Ireland where it is really hard to get under-six free GP care>

Read: Just under 1,500 GPs have signed up for under-sixes free GP care>

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