The allocation of ringfenced funding for the implementation of Sláintecare is key to the delivery of free GP care for children, according to Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore.

Deputy Whitmore, who is the party’s spokesperson on Children, said:

“It is understandable that the planned extension of free GP care for children aged between 6 and 8 has been delayed in the context of the Covid-19 crisis and the additional pressures it has placed on our health services and, in particular, general practices. It is very important, however, that a timeline is established and published to deliver on this commitment to ensure it is not kept on the long finger.

“While the legislation is in place to expand free GP services for older children, talks with the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) have yet to even begin. Even before Covid-19, it was clear there are capacity issues with our GP system. In the pandemic, we have seen how lack of investment and planning over many years has serious consequences.

“The phased extension of free GP care for all, including a new GP contract and the recruitment of salaried GPs by the health service, forms a key pillar of Sláintecare, the all-party plan for a universal health service, based on original proposals from the Social Democrats.

“Ringfenced funding for Sláintecare would provide a healthcare system that is fit for purpose and has the necessary capacity. The forthcoming Budget is the time for this Government to prioritise investment in the reform of our health service and the real implementation of Sláintecare – further delay will only worsen an already difficult situation.”

August 31, 2020

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