Approximately 7,500 children aged six and under in Tipperary will be entitled to access free GP care from the end of June.
Local people aged over 70 who still pay to visit their GP will also now be entitled to the free service. It comes on foot of news that agreement on free GP services has finally been reached between the Department of Health, the HSE and the IMO.
Alan Kelly, Minister for the Environment, Community & Local Government, welcomed news of the agreement.
“This is a major step forward that will deliver huge savings for local families and pensioners, and help promote health and well-being throughout the county.
“This announcement means that approximately 7,500 Tipperary children aged 6 and under will now be entitled to free GP care from the summer. This figure includes those who already have medical cards. Local people aged over 70 who currently still have to pay to see their GP will also now be able to access the free service.
“I want to thank Minister for Primary Care, Kathleen Lynch, for her tenacity in pursuing this project,” he said.
The decision was also welcomed by Deputy Noel Coonan who said it was another step towards universal healthcare and follows the recent agreement on free GP care for over 70s.
“The old adage that prevention is better than cure rings true for both our children and our health service”.
“Removing the cost barrier and allowing all children free access to a GP means earlier diagnoses, which is good for children and will also make our health service more economical in the long term,” said Deputy Coonan.
“The new system also includes an agreed cycle of care for asthma. Adults of all ages will also benefit from the new diabetes programme,” said Deputy Coonan.