Government Decision Will Ensure Free GP Care for Young Children by Mid-2014


As a result of a decision by Cabinet this week, GP services without fees will be extended to all children aged five and under by mid 2014. The government approved the General Scheme of the required legislation at its meeting on Tuesday of this week.

This decision firms up the budget announcement made in October 2013 to introduce free GP access to all children aged five and under, benefiting approximately 240,000 children.

Free GP services for children aged five and under is the first step in meeting the government’s commitment to securing universal access to GP services without fees for all our citizens.

Today’s decision is a significant advance for families with young children. It is also a vital public health initiative, beginning our progress towards universal access to primary care.

The future viability of our healthcare system requires a radical adjustment of resources towards primary care - care and treatment in the community.

This is where we can best implement preventative healthcare strategies, ensuring that our system is not there just to treat people when they are ill, but that it also works to keep people healthy.

We need to invest now in order to curtail costs in the future.The Labour Party has long championed the principle of universal access to GP care and now, along with our Coalition partners, we are progressing this significant and historic initiative.