Free GP care for U6s welcome


‘The decision by the Government to provide a free doctor service to all children under 6 years of age is one of the best developments ever to be undertaken by any government for many years,’ said Deputy Paul Connaughton this week.
‘This is a holistic approach in the provision of better primary care facilities for children under six years, in that children will be monitored at various stages during their formative lives in the certain belief that illnesses that haven’t become acute problems needing hospital treatment can be identified and sorted out at family doctor level. I think the positive aspects of this scheme will have enormous health benefits that will help keep thousands of patients out of hospital queues in the years to come,’ said Deputy Connaughton.
‘As far as the economic consequences of this new scheme is concerned, many parents will give a sigh of relief that their many and varied valid reasons to go to their family doctors will not be as financially punitive. As every parent of young children knows only too well, a child could be playing merrily around the garden one minute and in the blink of an eye would have to be brought to the family doctor. For the hard-pressed parents who pay their taxes, their childcare bills and have to travel long distances to work, I believe this new measure will provide some comfort for them.
‘However, this scheme should be seen for what it is, a major step on the road to universal health care, which should be the goal of every government, to provide equality of access to all medical services based on medical need and not on ability to pay.
‘I am gobsmacked at the Fianna Fáil reaction to this measure, it appears that they have no concept of the financial difficulties facing so many parents of young children and they appear to have learned nothing since they steered the ship of state on to the rocks a few years ago. This Government has been lambasted for not implementing promises they made at the last general election. The provision of free GP care to children under six and to the over 70s was a central plank in that manifesto and I am particularly proud that the government have delivered on these vital promises,’ concluded Deputy Connaughton.