Dáil passes Health (General Practitioner Service) Bill 2014
Minister of State with responsibility for Primary Care, Alex White TD, today (26 June 2014) welcomed Dáil approval of the Health (General Practitioner Service) Bill 2014.
The Bill is the legislative basis for the start of a new universal GP service and provides an entitlement for all children aged under 6 years to a GP service without fees. It is the first stage of the Government’s commitment to introducing, on a phased basis, a universal GP service without fees within its term of office, as set out in the Programme for Government.
Following approval by the Dáil, the Bill will now proceed to Seanad Eireann and the Minister said he was confident that the legislation would be enacted before the Summer recess, with implementation of the service in the Autumn.
“The passing of this legislation is a landmark in advancing an historic public health initiative to deliver GP services to the population free at the point of access. I am proud of this significant achievement as it is a major development in enhancing public health through Primary Care.“ Minister White said.
Additional earmarked funding of €37m was provided in Budget 2014 to fund this first phase. Notably, this measure is not being funded on foot of savings implemented elsewhere in the health system. When all Oireachtas stages have been completed and the legislation enacted, this measure will provide a GP service to approximately 240,000 children that currently must pay to see a GP. Providing access to a GP service without fees to all children aged 5 and under will mean that almost half of the population will have access to GP services without fees.