76% of GPs sign for free U-6 care

by Gazette Reporter
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THE registration process for free GP care for under-sixes opened last week, and 94 out a total of 124 GPs in Fingal have signed up to provide the service – a sign-up rate of 76%.
As a result of the scheme, 15,808 Fingal children aged under six will now have access to free GP care.
For children under six, the new service also includes dedicated asthma checks for children with the condition, and two wellness assessments aimed at identifying future health problems early, such as childhood obesity.
This new and improved service will be provided to all children under six, including those who already have medical cards.
Some GPs will also provide a new enhanced diabetes management service for adults with Type II Diabetes who have a medical card or doctor visit card.
Deputy Brendan Ryan (Lab) is urging Fingal parents to sign up to the service by logging onto www.gpvisitcard.ie.
He said: “I would encourage parents whose children will benefit from the scheme to sign them up straight away, so they can begin availing of free GP visits from July 1. The online system is easy-to-use and is as simple as booking a flight.
“Anyone who has any queries or questions can contact my office, where we’d be happy to step people through the sign-up process,” said Deputy Ryan.
He went on to say that he is delighted to finally see this initiative being rolled out across the country, because it will ease the pressure on working families, and give peace of mind to parents of sick children.
“It means that no parent of young children will ever be in a position again where money becomes an obstacle to bringing their child to a GP.”
He went on to say that it is perhaps the single most important development in primary care in the history of the State, and paid tribute to Primary Care Minister Kathleen Lynch, who “played a crucial role in getting it across the line”.
Former Minister for Health, and current Children’s Minister Dr James Reilly also welcomed the opening of registration, saying it is an important first step in the roll of free GP care for all and an important step towards universal health insurance.
Senior citizens aged 70 or more will also be able to access free GP care from August 1, meaning that this summer, up to 300,000 children and senior citizens will no longer have to pay.
Minister Reilly said this will result in real savings for pensioners and families.
He said: “It is important that we change the health system from one that only treats sick people to one that keeps people well; providing free access to GP care will make a significant difference in achieving this goal.
“I know many families of young children and older people are very pleased that this service will be available, and I would encourage parents with children under six to sign up.”
Dr Reilly added that many parents will no longer have to worry about cost when their real and urgent concern is the wellbeing of their child.

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