Wednesday 7 December 2016

Families to suffer if GP scheme is derailed

Published 13/04/2015 | 02:30

The choice for some parents could be the tall order of finding a doctor who is signed up for the scheme or forking out to the family doctor who is not in the scheme.
The choice for some parents could be the tall order of finding a doctor who is signed up for the scheme or forking out to the family doctor who is not in the scheme.

There have been mixed views on the merits of free doctor care for children for quite some time. But it is reasonable to argue that it was, and is, a tangible step towards ending the two-tier health system with its major emphasis on ability to pay.

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On that basis, Health Minister Leo Varadkar was entitled to be pleased with agreement in principle involving general practitioners on a range of care issues, including free GP care for children under six years of age. The Irish Medical Organisation, which represents the bulk of doctors, has welcomed the agreement. Both they and the Minister have said any details which give rise to concerns can be ironed out in the coming weeks.

But yesterday the leadership of the smaller doctors' group, the National Association of General Practitioners, declared against the agreement. This group say they represent 1,200 GPs and their stance brings additional uncertainty about a measure which has already been delayed several times since it was first announced in the Budget of October 2013.

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