Further delay of free GP care is cynical electioneering by FG

Alan Kelly TD
17 September 2019

Labour Health spokesperson, Alan Kelly TD, has said the Government’s proposals on free GP care are too little, too late.

Deputy Kelly said:

“It’s hard not to take Minister Harris’ announcement for free GP care for what it is – a cynical election ploy.

“The Government has had since 2016 to do something on expanding free GP care to under 12s. It’s a bit disingenuous to be bringing this proposal forward in what is most definitely the final Dáil session of this Government.

“Announcing that children under twelve won’t see free GP care until 2022, is another cynical ploy by Fine Gael to make the electorate think they are delivering on health when in fact they are just putting off providing services. 

“It is not good enough that the Government won’t deliver free GP care for children under twelve until 2022. Ireland is an embarrassment compared to other European countries when it comes to extending free primary care to our youngest citizens. 

“The Labour Party has consistently advocated for investment in primary care, and introduced free GP care for children under the age of 6 and those over 70. A national primary care system was a central pillar of the cross-Party plan, Sláintecare.

“While we are waiting for the Department of Health to figure out how they will implement Sláintecare, the Government could and should extend and expand the primary care system in Ireland. 

“To date we have seen free GP care provided to the youngest and oldest in our society. It is frustrating that the Government doesn’t seem to care that much about providing free GP care for those in-between. 

“Labour have long been championing the idea of free GP care for children. We know that if done right, Government can allocate funds for free GP care for children up to 18 years old. This will go a long way to help families who are spending on average €165 per year on healthcare.”

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