Doctors: we weren't consulted on free GP care for children
on 14/10/2013 11:44:26
It is reported today that tomorrow's Budget will include free GP visits for all children under five years of age, irrespective of their parents' income.
The Irish Medical Organisation said there is no evidence that young children have difficulty accessing medical care, and they should not be given free access while others are losing their medical cards.
Dr Ray Walley of the IMO's GP Committee said the union is disappointed not to have been consulted about the move.
"In a normal-thinking person you would expect that ether would be some sort of engagement with the community - the union that represents the general practice," he said.
"You'd have thought that would have happened before now. The Government is two and a half years in power and it hasn't happened.
"We'll be responsible and we will engage with any party to discuss whatever provision occurs."
Meanwhile, Junior Minister for Finance Brian Hayes said the introduction of free childhood care is a good start on the path to universal healthcare, which the Government has promised.
"If we can do it … it's a good start," he said. "We need to take pressure away from A&E acute hospital settings. We need to put more pressure really on community healthcare, primary healthcare.
"If we can do this in tomorrow's budget, I think it will be a good first step along that particular path."