Free GP care extended to carers in Westmeath

Free GP care is to be extended to carers in Westmeath. With the passing of the Health (General Practitioner Service ) Bill 2018, 14,000 carers nationally will now receive the Free GP visit card. This is in addition to those carers who already have free GP access through a medical card.

Commenting on the news, Longford Westmeath TD, Deputy Peter Burke acknowledged that the policy change will benefit many carers throughout Westmeath.

“The new health legislation passed by the Oireachtas this week means that anyone in receipt of either full or half rate carer’s allowance or carer’s benefit, will be automatically eligible for a GP service free of charge. This is a really important policy change which will benefit many carers in Westmeath. Carers carry out an invaluable role in society and do not get sufficient resources for this,” the TD commented.

Stating that he had been seeking improvements in this particular sector since his election, Deputy Burke noted that Fine Gael were focussed on helping those citizens that needed it most.

“Since my election I have been pushing for increases for this sector in particular and I am glad to see the GP visit card will now mean our carers will have easier access to care for their own health. Fine Gael in Government is working to ensure that our economic recovery benefits those who need it most.

“We know that one of the difficulties for carers is ensuring that their own health is looked after, both physical and mental health. This new free GP access will ensure they are supported in looking after their own health and well-being.

“My Fine Gael colleague, the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has said he wants this free GP access for carers in place as quickly as possible. Once the HSE undertakes the necessary operational requirements, applications for the new services, in both paper and online format, will be in place by 1st September 2018. This means that Westmeath carers are going to be able to access their free GP Visit Card in the very near future,” Deputy Burke enthused.

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