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Registration for free GP care begins for children aged six and seven Archive.php

Registration for GP visit cards for children aged six and seven begins today.

From today the under sixes GP visit card scheme has been expanded to become the under eights GP visit card scheme, providing free GP care for all children aged under eight in Ireland.

The move represents the “first stage in the biggest expansion in eligibility for free GP care in the history of the State” according to the Department of Health, and in the end will cover “up to 500,000 people”.

The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly encouraged families to register for the scheme.

On the role of GPs, Minister Donnelly noted the agreement with the IMO signed last month “which supports GPs to recruit and retain more staff to better meet demand”.

He said that the Government is “investing in a significant increase in GP training places, with a recent announcement outlining how training places would increase by a third by 2024, and have partnered with the Irish College of General Practitioners on its very successful non-EU GP Training Scheme which is delivering immediate increased capacity”.

This expansion of free GP care to children aged six and seven is the first stage of the expansion in eligibility for GP care without charges under the GP Agreement 2023. It will be followed by the expansion of free GP care to people earning up to the median income in September and November this year.

GPs have expressed concerns about the capacity of general practice to meet additional demands associated with expanded eligibility.

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The Medical Independent 11th June 2024

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