Commenting on the revelation that the promised provision of free GP care to people on the long-term illness scheme may be delayed by at least a year, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said:
“The extension of free GP care to all, beginning with people on the long-term illness scheme, was supposed to be a corner-stone of the Fine Gael/Labour Coalition’s health reforms. Free GP care for long-term illness patients was promised by Minister Reilly for 2012 but we now find that it may be delayed by at least a year.
“Legal issues are being cited for this delay. If this is the case it is incredible that it took more than a year in Government for the alleged legal difficulty to come to light given that the commitment to start the roll-out of free GP was a Fine Gael and Labour promise from long before the 2011 General Election.
“Many will suspect that the alleged legal difficulty is a convenient excuse to cover a retreat brought about by the financial crisis in the Health sector, a crisis worsened by this Government’s policies.
“If there is a real legal difficulty then the whole basis of the promised reforms of Minister Reilly and his Coalition colleagues is in question and they must be challenged on their failure to provide a proper legislative foundation for those reforms.” ENDS