The Programme for Government committed to the introduction of Universal Health Insurance with equal access to care for all.
As part of this – the Government stated they would introduce free universal GP care within their first term of office.
Only today (25th April) the Government has given its approval to the preparation by the Department of Health of Heads of a Bill to progress the phased introduction of a free GP care. This should be implemented in the summer.
The first phase will provide free GP services for people with certain illnesses or disabilities – ie those who qualify for the Long-Term Illness Scheme.
By 2013 – the plan is to extend free GP care to those people getting drugs under the High-Tech Drugs Scheme . The next phase would see subsidised GP visits and in the final phase, free care will be provided to all. (Hopefully by 2015)