New GP service without fees will benefit children in Carlow from next month – DEERING.

22nd June, 2015

Starting on July 1st, the new GP service without fees will benefit children in Carlow aged up to five years of age, and from August 1st, for senior citizens aged 70 or more.

As of last Thursday 85% of GPs in Carlow have signed up to provide this service.

The service is the first concrete step to universal health care, providing wider access to health care without fees to more people, alongside a renewed focus on primary care, better management of chronic disease in the community, wellness and prevention.

There are no means tests or sickness tests. You can sign up on on-line. All you need is your name, PPS number and contact details, and your child’s date of birth and PPS number. You will also need to know the name of your doctor of choice. Children who already have a medical card or a GP visit card do not need to register again.

For children under six, the new service also includes dedicated asthma checks for children with the condition, and two wellness assessments aimed at identifying future health problems early such as childhood obesity. This new and improved service will be provided to all children under six including those who already have medical cards.

Some GPs will also provide a new enhanced diabetes management service for adults with Type II diabetes who have a medical card or doctor visit card. This means that your diabetes can be managed by the GP and practice nurse who you know, rather than in the hospital clinic.

It is up to individual GPs to decide if they want to provide these new and enhanced services. Patients are free to move from one GP to another if they so wish, provided the GP can accommodate them. You will not receive a Doctor Visit Card automatically. You have to sign up. Signing up is simple and you can do so on-line atwww.gpvisitcard.ie.

If you already have a medical card or doctor visit card you do not need to register. Once you register, we will send you an SMS with the GP Visit Card number for your child and the actual card will follow in the post. You can ring 1890 252 919 for further advice.

A small number of GPs may not be using the on-line system, in which case we will contact you by e-mail with a form to print off to bring to your GP. Anyone aged 70 or over who does not already have a Medical Card or Doctor Visit Card, will be entitled this summer to see their GP without paying fees.

You can also sign up on-line or using a form that can be provided by your doctor or your local HSE office. Subject to successful negotiations with the Irish Medical Organisation, it is intended to phase in GP services without fees to other children and manage more chronic diseases in general practice in the coming years.

Carlow Fine Gael TD., Pat Deering as well as welcoming this announcement of the start date also congratulated Carlow Doctors and said he was “delighted that so many have signed up”.