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Free GP care for 500,000 more people in Ireland, free for those living alone

Dublin: A government scheme aims to provide free GP care to children between the ages of six and seven and to ordinary people on below-average incomes living alone.

The government has decided to phase in the expansion of the GP Care scheme to benefit 4,30,000 low-income people.

The first phase of the €130 million plan is for single people with an annual income of less than €46,999. On September 11, they will begin receiving free GP cards. The weekly income threshold for a single person living alone to qualify for a GP visit card will rise from €304 to €361 in the first phase and €418 in the second phase, according to the changes.

Through another scheme announced along with this, nearly 78,000 children will get free GP care. Applications for this scheme will be accepted beginning August 11. The law requiring free GP care for children aged six and seven was passed in June 2020. The scheme was announced in the 2021 budget.

The plan was announced following ongoing discussions between the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) and the government, which resulted in an agreement on a €130 million package that could be used to retain and recruit GP practise nurses.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said that the largest free GP care scheme in the history of the country is being implemented for children. It has also been decided that 500,000 men and women will receive free GP care. Some people postpone children’s treatment due to a lack of funds. According to the minister, the scheme will provide relief to all of them.

GPs can decide individually whether they want to serve as part of this scheme. The minister clarified that the majority of GPs have joined this scheme. Minister Donnelly said that the number of GPs in the country will increase to 4500 in the next three years. There are currently about 3,500 general practitioners in the country.

The new scheme has also been criticised for putting GPs under a lot of strain. Doctors point out that the main problem is that there are not enough GPs and nurses. They also point out that even elderly GPs will be overworked.

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