Cash strapped young families are delaying or avoiding visiting their GP because of the cost involved, a local politician claimed this week.
Labour TD Derek Nolan insists there is an urgent need for progress to be made on the roll-out of free GP care for under sixes.
“It is vitally important that we begin to see developments on free GP care soon,” he says.
“This policy was announced in October 2013 as part of Budget 2014 under the then minister for health, Dr James Reilly,” outlines the local deputy.
He says 12,500 Galway children are set to benefit from free GP care and he is calling on Minster Varadkar to prioritise to enact the policy this year.
“As we are all aware, January is a month where young children often encounter winter related illnesses and resultant GP visits can have an acute financial impact on families, especially so close after Christmas. Children aged six and under are particularly susceptible to picking up infections and, as a result, this can cause considerable worry for their parents.
“It is also clear that people occasionally delay or avoid visiting their GP when a fee is required. Removing this cost barrier means that local families will be far more likely to address medical problems at an earlier stage, leading to better outcomes and treatment that is of less cost to the State.”
The local TD insists it is crucial that Minister Varadkar makes progress on the issue. “It is important that families in Galway will have the opportunity to avail of free GP care should their children require a visit to a GP. This needs to be a priority for 2015.”