Tuesday 17 October 2017

Leo Varadkar: Most GPs will sign up to plan for free care to children under six

Health Minister Leo Varadkar
Health Minister Leo Varadkar

Daniel McConnell Group Political Corresondent

Health Minister Leo Varadkar said he thinks most GPs will ultimately sign up to the Government scheme to give free GP care to children under six years of age.

Mr Varadkar was reacting to calls from the National Association of General Practitioners for its members not to take part in the scheme.

The group branded the plan for universal access as "morally reprehensible".

In response,  Mr Varadkar who is himself a qualified doctor said all GPs were self employed so it was up to them individually to decide what to do.

The HSE has set aside €25m in this year’s budget for free GP care for children under the age of six.

Read more here: GPs called to reject free care for under-sixes

Mr Varadkar said he believed most would see the benefits of the additional resources and better outcomes that would come as a result of the scheme.

The minister said it was the first step in the extension of universal GP care to the general population and the problems in our hospitals could never be solved without improvements in primary care.

He said he was disappointed one of the groups representing GPs did not agree with that.

The National Association of GPs, which claims to represent about half of the country’s GPs, earlier called on its members and non-members not to sign up to the deal.

NAGP Chief Executive Chris Goodey said it was morally reprehensible that free GP care would be extended to all children under six, regardless of their medical needs or family income.

The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), which represents about 1,800 GPs, said it is continuing to take part in negotiations about the implementation of the scheme, saying it would only increase the abhorrent inequities in our health service.

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