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General Practitioner Services

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 15 February 2022

Tuesday, 15 February 2022

Questions (894)

Niall Collins

Question:

894. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health when the general practitioner visit card will be extended to children under 12 years of age; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8334/22]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Government is committed to increasing access to GP care without charges for children, an important healthcare measure that will remove a potentially prohibitive cost barrier to accessing GP care and will help to improve children’s health as they develop. At present all children up to and including the age of 5 are eligible for a GP visit card and therefore GP care without charges.

The Health (General Practitioner Service and Alteration of Criteria for Eligibility) Act 2020 provides, amongst other things, for the phased expansion of GP care without fees to all children aged 12 years and under in three phases: to children aged 6 and 7; to children aged 8 and 9; and to children aged 10,11 and 12. Budget 2022 provides for the initial stage of this phased expansion, the provision of GP care without fees to all children aged 6 and 7. My officials and the HSE are already engaged in preparatory work, and I expect to be in a position to bring forward proposals to the IMO, representing GPs, later this quarter. It is important to ensure that any additional pressures placed on general practice will not limit its capacity to meet the needs of all patients in the community.

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