Press Release

100,000 Children Sign-Up for GP Care in 3 Weeks

Today Minister Leo Varadkar and Minister Kathleen Lynch announced that over 100,000 children have signed up for the new free GP care for children under 6 service, since registration started on June 15th.

The enhanced universal GP service for under-6s started on July 1st. About 86% of GPs have agreed to provide the new, enhanced service, which includes assessments focused on health and wellbeing and the prevention of disease when a child is aged 2 and again at age 5 and an agreed cycle of care for children diagnosed with asthma.

Minister Varadkar said: “I’m very encouraged by the sign-up by parents and doctors. Almost 9 out of 10 GPs have agreed to this new, improved and better funded GP service for children. I fully expect more parents to register their children over the summer and autumn. This gradual registration shows that parents are not rushing to be able to bring their children to a doctor and are likely to attend only as their child needs to be seen. It reassures me that concerns that parents will flood GP surgeries with children who do not need to see a doctor are not well founded. This universal approach to GP care brings us into line with what other European countries did decades ago. I look forward to negotiating with the IMO on the next steps in extending GP care without fees to more people, increasing resources and extending the scope of primary care.”

Minister Lynch said: “Over a quarter of a million of children under 6, or almost 60% of all under-6s, are now signed up to the new, enhanced GP service for children. This includes the 100,000 new children and the 150,000 children with existing medical cards. Removing the cost of GP visits for children under 6 removes a source of stress. It gives peace of mind to these families of a quarter of a million children and is one less burden faced by their parents.”