Tuesday 27 June 2017

Under-sixes scheme will work - but free GP care for all is a long way off

Health Minister Leo Varadkar with Kiya O’Connor (3) from Macken Street, Dublin, at the launch of the online registration system for the new free GP care on Pearse Street.
Photo: Damien Eagers
Health Minister Leo Varadkar with Kiya O’Connor (3) from Macken Street, Dublin, at the launch of the online registration system for the new free GP care on Pearse Street. Photo: Damien Eagers
Sara Burke

Sara Burke

It is very hard to name a moment in the history of the Irish State when significant public system change was brought in by vested interests. It is even harder to recall any time when a majority of doctors in Ireland embraced positive health system reform upon its introduction.

By yesterday afternoon, 20,000 children were registered to participate in the free GP care scheme and 65pc of GPs had signed up to the scheme. Reaching a critical mass of two-thirds of GPs is a tipping point. There is no turning back now.

From July 1, all children under six years of age in Ireland will have access to GP care without charge. This will mean that parents of children who delayed or did not go to the GP because of the high cost of GP care can now go and go at an earlier stage.

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