Press Release

Ministers welcome Publication of GP Contract document for the provision of GP Care without fees for Under-6s

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar, and Minister for Primary Care, Social Care & Mental Health, Kathleen Lynch, have welcomed the publication of the GP Contract document for the provision of GP Care without fees for children under-6 years.

It is open to any qualified GP to apply for the contract, both those who have existing GMS contracts and those who have not.  It is a matter for each GP individually to decide if they wish to participate in the provision of this new service.

Minister Varadkar said: “I want to encourage all GPs to sign up to this new improved and expanded primary care service, which will ensure that, from this summer, up to 270,000 children who currently have to pay to see their GP will no longer have to.”

Minister Lynch said: “The effects of introducing this new service this summer will be two fold.  It will remove the burden of cost associated with GP visits for young families, and it also focuses on keeping children well.    Including periodic wellness checks as part of the service should lead to improved health and wellbeing. This along with the cycle of care for the management of Asthma, will be of enormous benefit to these young lives.” Minister Lynch stated.

Minister Varadkar said: “This agreement is a major step forward in improving access, quality and affordability of health care in Ireland.  The contract underlines the Government’s commitment to enhancing primary care and keeping people well in their own community.  It also marks the most tangible step forward so far along the road to universal health care.”

Under the new arrangements, children under 6 will be eligible for GP care free at the point of service. They will also benefit from age-based preventive checks focused on health and wellbeing, identifying obesity and other problems early, and the prevention of disease. These assessments will be carried out once when a child is aged 2 and again at age 5, in accordance with an agreed protocol.  The contract will include an agreed cycle of care for children diagnosed with asthma, under which GPs will carry out an annual review of each child where the doctor has diagnosed asthma.

Minister Lynch added: “I welcome the publication of the GP contract document today and would encourage doctors to return their signed contracts as soon as possible to facilitate parents registering their children under 6 for this valuable service.”

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