Free GP care should now be extended to all children under 12, according to Galway West TD Derek Nolan.
Nolan says the Government should now turn its attention to extending the service following its successful roll out for under sixes.
"If we are to change the way we deliver healthcare in this country, we have to be ambitious," he says. "We have to take advantage of positive opportunities like this and exploit them for the benefit of the people of this State."
Eighty-six per cent of GPs across the country, and "an even more encouraging" 94 per cent of Galway GPs, have signed up to this scheme.
"As of July 2, just under 7,000 Galway children have been registered and are now fully entitled to free GP care, which shows just how successful this initiative will be.
He says the most important consideration was always going to be a good level of service and wide-spread coverage for both children under six and people over 70, and this has been achieved.
"Given that this scheme has been so successful and take up has been so high, I think it is now possible to look at rolling out the scheme further, and covering all children under 12.
“In Galway, there are families all across the city and county who struggle to pay the cost of a visit of their child to their GP. While some relief has been given to them for their younger children, we must now look towards extending it and easing the financial burden even further.Let’s make it that no parent ever has to worry about the cost of bringing their child to the doctor."