Pathway needed for the implementation of free GP care
The Government needs to announce a realistic pathway for the implementation of universal free GP care for all citizens under the age of eighteen according to Labour Leader and Health Spokesperson, Alan Kelly.
Deputy Kelly was speaking after it was revealed that plans to introduce free GP care for all children aged between six and eight years have been delayed indefinitely.
Deputy Kelly said:
“Free GP care for children under the age of 6 was introduced by the Labour Party in 2015 as a first step towards universal free GP care. Since then Fine Gael announced multiple times that the scheme would be extended to children under 12. The extension of free GP care was initially agreed and announced as part of Budget 2016 and was contained in both the previous and current Programme for Government.
“The Government need to announce an implemental pathway to universal coverage and the steps needed to make universal coverage a reality. It is unacceptable to continue making the same announcement again and again with no delivery.
“They have had since 2016 to do something on expanding free GP care to children under 12, yet they have delivered nothing. Ireland is an outlier when it comes to extending free primary care to our youngest citizens.
“Universal healthcare is a priority for Labour, we have constantly advocated and argued for increased investment in primary care by introducing free GP care for children under 6 in 2015, yet we have had no expansion or extension of universal primary healthcare since then.
“The Government needs to get their act together; they need to announce a realistic deliverable pathway to set out the roadmap to extending free GP care to all citizens under the age of 18. The opportunities presented by the Covid crisis cannot be lost, the Irish people know now that a single tier health system is possible and extending free GP care is the first step along that road.