Monday 26 September 2016

When it comes to children you have to find the money

Published 16/05/2015 | 02:30

Siobhan O’Neill White with her daughters Robyn (10), April (7) and Summer (3) at their home in Bettystown, Co Meath. Picture:Arthur Carron
Siobhan O’Neill White with her daughters Robyn (10), April (7) and Summer (3) at their home in Bettystown, Co Meath. Picture:Arthur Carron

For Siobhan O'Neill White, a busy mother-of-four, medical costs are an expensive fact of life.

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However, when it comes to the health of her children - Mitchell (12), Robyn (10), April (7) and Summer (3) - she just has to find the money where she can.

"We used to have private health insurance, but had to stop it because we couldn't afford it.

"Everything is expensive these days, but if your child is sick you just have to pay it.

"I know people who can't afford to bring their child to the GP when they're sick," she said.

In the past she has paid as much as €100 for an out-of-hours consultation with a GP, however she said costs have fallen in recent years.

She has called her local doctor-on-call service, NEDOC, a number of times.

"The last time I called with a problem with one of the kids, the nurse gave good advice and said to do a few things and actually that resolved it and we didn't have to go for an appointment at all," she said.

"The problem we have is that the GP is so busy during normal surgery hours, that it's hard to get an appointment.

"You can ring on Wednesday and they'll say they're booked out for the rest of the week.

"So you make an appointment for Monday and then over the weekend, if you get really sick, you have to go to the doctor who is on call."

She said generally GPs will try and fit a child in even if they are fully booked, however for a teenager or adult, they usually have to wait. Siobhan, who runs the parenting website Mumstown.ie, said some parents were paying out huge amounts for GP care for their children.

"A lot of people talk about it on (parenting web forum) Mumstown," she said.

"We're lucky that our children are all fairly healthy. But I think if someone's child is predisposed to chest infections or ear infections, then it will be really expensive."

Irish Independent

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