Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (1940)

Alan Kelly

Question:

1940. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health the projected full-year cost of the provision of free general practitioner care to children under 18 years of age; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34378/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Programme for Government commits to extend in phases, and subject to negotiation with GPs, free GP care to all children under 18 years of age.

As a first step, it is intended to extend, on a phased basis starting in 2020, GP care without fees to all children aged between 6 and 12 years. Legislative changes will be required to give effect to this extension.  As part of the recent agreement reached on GP contractual reforms and service developments, the Irish Medical Organisation has agreed that it will engage with the Department of Health and the HSE in relation to the contractual aspects of this service in advance of implementation.

It is not possible at this time to give an estimate of the cost of extending GP care without fees to a further cohort of the population. The fees payable for this service will be determined by the Minister for Health, with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, in line with the provisions of the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017 and following consideration of the scope and content of the general practitioner service to be provided.