Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Questions (578)

Eoghan Murphy

Question:

578. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Health if a date has been set for the rolling out of the free general practitioner scheme for children with special needs. [30285/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

No date has been set, nor was a commitment given to set a date, for the provision of a general practitioner scheme for children with special needs. However, the Government is committed to introducing, on a phased basis, a universal GP service without fees within its first term of office, as set out in the Programme for Government and the Future Health strategy framework. This policy constitutes a fundamental element in the Government's health reform programme. There has been no change to the Government's over-arching commitment to this goal. This Government is the first in the history of this State to have committed itself to implementing a universal GP service for the entire population.

Currently, I am exploring a number of alternative options with regard to the phased implementation of a universal GP service without fees. Minister Reilly and I expect to report back to the Cabinet Committee in the near future. As part of this work, consideration will be given to the approaches, timing and financial implications of the phased implementation of this universal health service. This Government is determined to expedite the implementation of a national GP service for the entire population, something to which no previous Government has ever aspired.