OVER 6,000 new Clare children aged five or under will be able to benefit from free GP care following Budget 2014.
Fine Gael Senator Tony Mulcahy has stated that 10,709 Clare children will be eligible for free GP care under a new Government family friendly measure.
The Department of Health estimates that 43% of children and adults nationally are already covered by a full medical card or GP visit card.
Applying this percentage to Clare, 6,104 new Clare children will no longer have to pay up to €50 to visit their local GP once this new measure is rolled out in the county next year.
The estimated cost of this new measure nationwide is €37 million and it will also mean 49% of the population are now covered for free GP care.
According to Senator Mulcahy, this initiative will have a huge impact on thousands of families across Clare, who will no longer have to stump up to €50 every time their child has to see the doctor.
“It will ensure better medical outcomes for children, because by going to the doctor early, they can avoid going to the hospital late. It is also in line with the Government’s policy to deliver care close to people in their community,” he said.
Labour TD Michael McNamara described this “historic and significant” initiative along with other initiatives such as book rental schemes for every primary school in Ireland, as a “shining example” of how the Government is trying to make a tangible difference to people’s lives and circumstances.
“There is clear evidence that people delay or avoid visiting their GP where a fee is required. Removing this cost barrier will mean 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,” he said.