Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, while commenting on the agreement by Government to the text of legislation to provide for free GP care for children aged six and under, today said:
“This news merits a guarded welcome, provided it is a definite step towards the universal roll-out of free GP care.
“This roll-out must be time-tabled and it must be seen to be progressing otherwise the initiative will be seen as a one-off and will perpetuate inequalities. For example people will rightly ask why a seven-year-old child with a disability should not have the GP card while a child of 5 with no disability and in a family way above the income limit will have one.
“We share concern at the lack of proper consultation on the part of the Minister and the Department with GPs on the proposed new contracts.
“We are also concerned at any diminution of services at GP level, which we accept has occurred in many cases, given the financial pressures on some GP practices.
“All primary care providers, especially GPs, must be central to reform of our primary care services.”