The Minister for Health, Simon Harris and the Minister of State for Disabilities, Finian McGrath have today (Thursday) welcomed the fact that following the passing of the Health (General Practitioner Service) Bill 2018 last night 14,000 additional Carers are now to receive Free GP Care.

The Bill means that those in receipt of either full or half rate Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Benefit will be automatically eligible for a GP service free of charge.

The Minister for Health said “This measure is another important step by this Government to support our Carers, who are the backbone of the caring profession in every community.  The provision of a GP service, free of charge, will ensure that Carers themselves are supported to protect their own physical, mental and emotional well-being. I am very happy that this legislation was passed quickly by the Oireachtas, so that this vital service can be made available to Carers as soon as possible.”

Speaking today, Minister of State Finian McGrath said “As a result of this legislation being passed an additional 14,000 Carers today will be reassured that they will now be eligible for a GP Visit card enabling them to access vital GP services without fees which will go some way to lessening the financial burden on the shoulders of Carers.  Carers can be assured of this Government’s commitment to ensuring that they have a stronger voice – we are committed to looking after people who spend their time looking after others and this initiative is evidence that we are listening to their needs”.  

Following the passage of the legislation, the HSE will now undertake the necessary operational requirements so that applications for the new services, in both paper and online format, will be in place by 1st September 2018.