Speaking on TV3s the Sunday Show the minister said it was “morally wrong” to make parents pay the full €55 or €60 GP for children under the age of six. “I would like GP care for children to be free,” he said, “but if our GP colleagues have an argument that it should be limited to a certain number of visits a year or a nominal charge, I’m willing to engage with that.”
The minister also said that a maximum charge of €10 per visit for children could be instated. “I would like a nominal charge, if a charge at all, I see a nominal charge as a fiver, a tenner, no more.”
But would parents be willing to pay a nominal fee for their young children? Those with children in childcare facilities will know that their children come home with viruses and germs too often to count and while we can understand the point of view of the doctors, it remains a question of affordability. Especially when so many other aspects of childcare are so expensive.
Greater training needed for GPs
On the show which aired on Sunday Evening, he also spoke about giving greater training to GPs in the wake of Milly Tuomey’s death. “I think the fact that a child so young finds themselves in this position is frightening, it’s frightening for society. There are a number of areas where Milly’s family highlighted that need change…”
“I will be working with my department and the Minister for Mental Health on how to address those issues. I’m beginning to see more and more parents of younger children come to our clinics to express concern and I think our systems to date are not fully prepared for that.”