Sunday 25 September 2016

Leo defends shelving free GP care for all

Published 05/02/2016 | 02:30

Minister for Children James Reilly and Minister for Health Leo Varadkar during an address to Fine Gael candidates by Enda Kenny. Minister Varadkar has defended shelving free GP care for all. Photo: Collins
Minister for Children James Reilly and Minister for Health Leo Varadkar during an address to Fine Gael candidates by Enda Kenny. Minister Varadkar has defended shelving free GP care for all. Photo: Collins

Health Minister Leo Varadkar defended his decision to shelve promises of free GP visits for all, and instead confine the benefit to under 18s.

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He said there would not be enough GPs to deliver free care for everyone, even after five years - but Labour leader Joan Burton challenged him to train more.

The upcoming Fine Gael manifesto will allow for more GPs to be trained, but promises need to be "realistic", he insisted.

Dr Mark Murphy, spokesman for the ICGP, said it was essential more GPs are trained annually.

"If future health policy is predicated on a strong primary care workforce we need more GPs.

"We need to retain and recruit more. We currently train 157 a year but this needs to be increased."

Irish Independent

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