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Children's health

17th Jan 2023

Free GP care for all could be introduced by 2026

Kat O'Connor

Free GP care is currently not available in Ireland.

Free GP care for all of Ireland would cost between €381m and €881m.

The figures were confirmed in a study published by the ERSI.

The ERSI believes free GP care could be introduced in Ireland by 2026.

There have been calls to extend free GP care to all of Ireland, but it could be 2026 by the time it is introduced.

Ireland is one of the few European countries that does not offer it.

Free GP care is currently only offered to medical cardholders, as well as young children.

The ERSI stated;

“The aim of the research in this report is to estimate the demand and cost implications of extending eligibility for GP services (providing a GP visit card) to the whole population.

“The research examines the cost to the State of alternative approaches to extending eligibility between 2023 and 2026.”

“There are two ways to be eligible for a GP visit card: age and income. Children younger than six and people aged 70 and over are entitled to a GP visit card on the grounds of age, while eligibility for other age groups is dependent on income.

Earlier this year, hospital inpatient fees for children were scrapped.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly scrapped the €80 hospital fee for those under 16.

He stated: “This legislation will ease the financial burden of parents/guardians when bringing their child to the hospital for in-patient care.”

The Minister for Health also believes it will ensure that cost “is not a significant consideration” when children need in-hospital treatment.

Do you think free GP care should be introduced in Ireland?

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