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Budget 2014

Under 5s care "first step" towards free GP visits for all --- Howlin

The move, flagged in advance of today’s Budget, has been criticised by the GP representative group who say there was no consultation in advance.

PUBLIC EXPENDITURE MINISTER Brendan Howlin has told TDs that the well-flagged Budget measure allowing free GP visits for all children aged five and under is the first step towards a universal scheme.

As part of his Budget speech, the Labour minister told the Dáil:

“In line with the Programme for Government, I am allocating €37 million to fund the roll out of free GP care for children aged 5 and under, as a first step in our programme to provide Free GP Care for all.”

The move has been criticised by, amongst others, the Irish College of General Practitioners, who said it “represents a major change to how early years health services are currently organised and paid for”.

The representative group said “there has been no discussion with the profession on this”.

“It represents an excellent opportunity to look at how a high standard of care can be provided to Under 5’s, but planning, dialogue and inclusion of GPs and other stakeholders is required for it to work in practice.”

Read: As it happens: The Budget 2104 Liveblog >

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