LIMERICK has the fourth highest number of doctors in the country signed up to the new free GP care for under-sixes scheme, which commenced last Wednesday.
Figures published on June 30 reveal that a total of 94 - of 111 - Limerick city and county GPs have agreed to a new national scheme that now provides GP care free to children under the age of six.
This accounts for 85% of Limerick GPs, which is a 46% increase since June 17, when Limerick had one of the lowest rates in the country.
For the first time, the rate of registered Limerick doctors has exceeded the national rate of registered doctors. Nationally, 2,036 GPs have been registered, which is 84% of Ireland’s GPs, according to the figures published by the HSE.
Minister for Health Leo Varadkar stated that this is the “first tangible step towards universal healthcare” and added that the second step is to include free GP care for people aged 70 and older, in early August.
“This will make a real difference to the youngest and oldest people in society,” he said.
Minister for Primary Care Kathleen Lynch said Wednesday was a “significant day in the history of the Irish health service”, after the scheme came into effect.
Since registration began last month, more than 79,000 children in the country have been registered. Parents and guardians can still register their children at www.gpvisitcard.ie.
So far, 23 of 32 HSE local health offices have more than 80% GPs registered.