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04th Dec 2017

Minister for Health wants €10 maximum charge for children to attend GP

"We need to address these issues"

Minister for Health, Simon Harris wants a maximum charge of €10 for a child to attend the GP.

Speaking about the topic on TV3’s The Sunday Show, the minister felt it was “morally wrong” for a parent to have financial stress and worry trying to budget €60 for a child’s doctor visit.

He said: “I would like GP care for children to be free, but if our GP colleagues have an argument that it should be limited to a certain number of visits a year or a nominal charge, I’m willing to engage with that.”

“I would like a nominal charge, if a charge at all, I see a nominal charge as a fiver, a tenner, no more” he added.

Minister Harris also spoke about the need for greater GP training especially when making a clinical assessment of suicidal risk, in light of the tragic case of 11-year-old Milly Tuomey who took her own life.

He said: “I think the fact that a child so young finds themselves in this position is frightening, it’s frightening for society. There are a number of areas where Milly’s family highlighted that need change and I was particularly struck by the point you (Sarah McInerney) made on GP training.”

“I will be working with my department and the Minister for Mental Health on how to address those issues. I’m beginning to see more and more parents of younger children come to our clinics to express concern and I think our systems to date are not fully prepared for that.”

“We need to address these issues and I will be taking very seriously what Milly’s parents have to say.”