Free GP care for under sixes now up and running

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Free GP Care for children under 6 has started. All children who are registered under the Scheme can attend their GP without charge. Since registration began last month, over 79,000 children have been registered to avail of this new service and over 2,030 GPs have signed up to provide services as part of the scheme.

Parents/guardians can still register their children for this service after the commencement date however, the HSE is encouraging them to register their children on www.gpvisitcard.ie to ensure they have easy access to the service when they need it. Registration is a simple process – you just need each child’s PPS number, gender and date of birth, a parent’s or guardian’s PPS number and contact details and then you select your GP of choice.

Commenting on the introduction of this new service Leo Varadkar T.D., Minster for Health, said: “This marks the first tangible step towards universal health care with the extension of GP services without fees to children under the age of six, and an enhanced and better-funded service for children under six who already have a medical or doctor visit card. The second step comes in early August with the inclusion of people aged 70 or older. This will make a real difference to the youngest and oldest people in society.”

From tomorrow all children under 6 will be eligible for GP care free at the point of service. They will also benefit from age-based assessments focused on health and wellbeing, identifying obesity and other problems early, and the prevention of disease. The assessments will support the HSE in its efforts to prevent obesity in children and will be carried out once when a child is aged 2 and again at age 5, in accordance with an agreed protocol.  The service 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.

23 of the 32 HSE Local Health Offices already have 80% or more of their GPs signed up to deliver this service (see attached list). In some areas such as Donegal, Galway, North Cork Laois/Offaly, Sligo/Leitrim and Waterford, very high numbers of GPs have signed agreements to provide the service. The only area recording a low level of service provision to date is South Tipperary (19%).

2,036GPs across the country have signed agreements to provide this enhanced service for children under 6 and a list of participating GPs is published on www.gpvisitcard.ie

For further detail visit www.gpvisitcard.ie  or Lo Call 1890 252 919