Local Fianna Fáil TD, Brendan Smith, has welcomed the further expansion of eligibility for GP visit cards.
From September 11th some 215,000 people are newly eligible to apply for the cards. It is part of the biggest expansion in eligibility for free GP care in the history of the state happening this year and covering up to 500,000 people.
Deputy Smith said: “This is great news for those now eligible to apply and it is yet another example of Fianna Fáil in government making health care more affordable.
“Not only is this making healthcare more affordable for patients it will also improve health outcomes. Removing the financial barrier to accessing a GP encourages people to seek treatment at an earlier stage, rather than delaying the decision to seek care until the point at which the illness has progressed to the point where it requires hospitalisation – a much more expensive form of care.”
“Improving healthcare affordability and access is a priority for Fianna Fáil in government. Since 2020 we have
- Abolished in-patient hospital charges. We started by abolishing in-patient charges for children in 2022. This year (2023) we abolished charges for all adults. This charge, which was €80 per visit, will save people up to €800 a year.
- Introduced a landmark scheme providing free contraception for women. We started with those aged 17-25. This has now been extended to women up to the age of 30. This will save people up to €600 a year.
- Reduced the amount of money people have to pay for medicine. Under the Drug Payment Scheme (DPS), we have reduced the monthly maximum families have to pay from €124 to €80. This will save families up to €528 a year, with 120,000 people/ families benefitting from the scheme.
- Extended Medical Cards to more people with a terminal illness, ensuring anyone with a prognosis of up to two years can get one.
- Raised the income thresholds for those aged 70 and above, making many more medical cards available for those in retirement.
Deputy Smith concluded by saying that this latest expansion is yet another milestone on the road to universal healthcare.