The free GP care for all children under 12, announced in Budget 2016, must become a reality as soon as possible, and will only do so when the Government begins talks with doctors in Galway and across the country.
This is the view of Labour Galway West TD Derek Nolan who said it was "very important" that the Minister for Health Leo Varadkar, and his officials in the Department of Health, "work closely with GPs" to ensure all potential trouble spots, such as roll-out and implementation "can be ironed out in a timely fashion". In July, Dep Nolan had called for free GP care for under 12s.
"The provision of free GP care for under sixes took almost three years to complete," said Dep Nolan. "We can’t allow the extension to under 12s to take as long.“I am also aware that a certain number GPs in Galway don’t believe in free care at all. While I disagree with them on this issue, I still believe a proper consultation process is needed to ensure parents and children in Galway start to feel the benefits of free health care as soon as possible."
Dep Nolan said ensuring the scheme is implemented quickly is important as "there are families across the city and county who struggle to pay for the cost of a visit of their child to their GP". He added that extending free care would "help ease the financial burden" and provide Galway parents with "a sense of reassurance should their child need to visit the GP".