Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher says the roll out of free GP care to the under 6s should not be prioritised over the provision of medical cards to people with life limiting conditions. Hundreds of GPs across the country are refusing to sign up to the Government’s contract to cover the under 6s care plan, and the scheme could be nearing collapse.
Deputy Kelleher commented, “The stalemate in the roll out of the under 6 GP cards should be used as an opportunity to reassess the way in which the Government is proposing to roll out its primary healthcare proposals. Instead of pushing ahead with measures which focus on age, it should be ensuring that the sickest and most vulnerable are taken care of. However, much like its handling of the discretionary medical card issue, it seems as if this Government is utterly devoid of any compassion or fairness.
“Doctors themselves are opposed to these measures, with the National Association of General Practitioners calling on its members not to sign up to the Government’s proposals. Whether the Minister is willing to admit it, this scheme cannot proceed unless GPs are on board. It has already been extensively delayed and the negotiations with the IMO have not brokered any results.
“It makes no sense to hand out free GP cards to families who have no specific medical needs and can afford doctor visits and treatments solely based on their age. €25 million euro has been set aside to pay for the roll out of this completely inequitable scheme, which could be diverted to pay for medical cards for the thousands of people with life limiting conditions and illnesses who are being denied free medical care.
“Minister Leo Varadkar must reassess his flawed decision to press ahead with this plan to prioritise the under 6s for free GP care and shift the Government’s focus to ensure that health funding is spent on those who have a genuine medical or financial need”.