The Counselling in Primary Care (CIPC) service was established in July 2013 to provide counselling for patients experiencing mild to moderate psychological difficulties who present in the primary care setting. All adults in receipt of a medical card are eligible for the service. Access to this service is by referral from the client's GP or a member of the Primary Care Team. All clients referred to CIPC are requested to opt into the service before they are allocated to a counsellor and an appointment is then offered.
Under Section 58 of the Health Act 1970 (as amended) the HSE can make available a GP visit card to eligible persons. This card enables eligible persons to visit a participating GP free of charge. No other health or social services, such as counselling, are provided by this card.
As of 1 February (latest figures available) 506,283 individuals hold eligibility for a GP visit card. This figure also includes GP visit cards which are provided on a discretionary basis.
As the part of this question in relation to full year costs is a service matter, I am referring that section to the HSE and I have asked them to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.