HSE Offers Free GP Care to Under 6s
As of July 1st, a new scheme was launched that will see children aged 6 and under receive free GP care. Applicants are invited to send in application cards or register online at gpvisitcard.ie. The application cards can also be downloaded from the site, and submitted by post.
Children who already have medical cards will automatically be registered for this scheme, which means that parents don’t have to register. However, parents of children who don’t have cards, are urged to register.
What Does Registration Entail?
In order to register your child (aged 6 or under) for free GP care, please have the following information handy:
- your child’s PPS number;
- your own PPS number;
- the information of your GP of choice.
If your newborn does not yet have a PPS number, please contact the Department of Social Protection, or leave the corresponding box on the form blank.
If you have more than one child, and they attend different doctors, you should register each child separately.
Some doctors have not signed up to provide this scheme, and in some parts of the country, coverage is still low. Likewise, some doctors are not currently taking any more applications. If that is the case, your doctor’s name may not be on the list
If your doctor is not on the list, you should pick a different GP to participate in the scheme. Should your doctor join up at a later stage, you can always switch back.
Once your application has been completed, it is submitted to your doctor of choice for acceptance to his or her panel. Upon confirmation, you will receive a GP visit card in the mail.
Your child will be entitled to:
- free GP visits;
- health assessments at ages 2 and 5 ;
- asthma care, where necessary.
Growing Child Assessments
At ages 2 and 5, your child will undergo growing child assessments, which focus on disease prevention, general health and well being. During these visits, your child’s gender, age, weight and height will be plotted and recorded on a centile card. Where necessary, your child will receive brief intervention and support, follow up service, and if need be, specialist referral.
If your child suffers from asthma, he or she will be checked regularly, and medications will be reviewed. In addition to a written management plan, you will also be advised on ways in which the condition can be improved. Asthma checks take place on an annual basis.
While your child will be entitled to the free services stipulated above, you will still be liable to pay for follow up treatments, medications and procedures in the private system. Patients with major treatment requirements can still benefit from the drug payment scheme that covers the costs of medication and appliances over € 144 per month.
Since the card covers both after hours and home visits, doctors are expecting a huge hike in the demand for their services. As a result, they are expecting delays.