Different doctors for mother and son 'a complete inconvenience'
A Dublin family is having to use two different GPs - because their local doctor did not take on the free GP care for children under six scheme.
Catherine Spillane from Cabinteely has been using her local GP for years, along with her son Jesse (2), but has since had to take him to a different doctor in Deansgrange.
While the distance is of little issue to Ms Spillane, the process of getting accepted at a GP practice proved to be an ordeal - during which her online applications were rejected six times by separate GP practices, as many who had entered the scheme did not want to take on new patients.
The mother contacted the HSE, which then offered to intervene and said it would find a GP within a 15km radius.
However, she said she was lucky that a doctor's practice accepted her before they were placed somewhere too inconvenient.
Ms Spillane said that while she was very happy with her child's new GP, her son had already settled in in the family practice. "It's not too far away, but definitely not as convenient as the one I use.
"It's a complete inconvenience because I still go to the same GP, but my son obviously doesn't, so if we have a bug or something, or if we've both got to see a doctor for the same reason, then we have to go to separate GPs," she added.
Laura Haugh from parenting website MummyPages said that situations such as this were commonplace for families since the introduction of the scheme.
"Unfortunately it now seems that many families are unable to benefit from free local GP care with surgeries closing the door to new patients," Ms Haugh said. "It is disappointing to see that the free GP care scheme for children under six years has not been accepted by all family doctors."