Thursday 18 October 2018

Doctors not joining scheme leave families stranded

Reluctant to bring her children to the GP because of the cost, Sarah Carey says GPs should sign up to the new scheme

Kevin Denny
Kevin Denny
A doctor examines a child.
Sarah Carey

Sarah Carey

My mother reared us to believe that wasting a doctor's time was evidence of poor character. Even though this policy resulted in my giving birth at home unexpectedly because I didn't want to raise the alarm unnecessarily, it's hard to shake off the policies one is taught as a child. After all, this is a woman who apologised for making a fuss when she phoned the Doctor-On-Call when my father was on the floor clutching his chest in the throes of a heart attack.

Anyway, one day last year I found my two-year-old lying on the floor, unable to stand up. He wasn't crying. He had no visible injury. He didn't have a fever. Apart from the fact that he couldn't walk, there didn't seem to be anything wrong with him. "How weird", I thought, half suspecting him of malingering. When there was no improvement the next day I considered bringing him to the doctor, but janey, it's €50, and I don't have €50 to be throwing away on children who aren't actually sick. In the absence of any distress, I decided to bide my time.

When it came to the weekend, I was really starting to worry, but the out-of-hours charge is €80, and there was no way I was paying that. Finally, on the Monday, I brought him to the doctor; and before long, we found ourselves in Crumlin Hospital.

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