By Stephen RogersIrish Examiner Reporter
From today, over-70s can begin registering for the free GP service, which is to be available from August 5.
From that date, all 400,000 people in the age category will be entitled to free care, including those who do not currently hold a medical or GP visit card.
Health Minister Leo Varadkar said: “It’s an important step because, for the first time, the eldest and youngest in our society will be able to access GP care without being charged.”
Kathleen Lynch, junior health minister, said the Government is committed to strengthening and further developing primary care services.
“As we continue to expand free GP care to those under 18 years of age, we will also provide more services in primary care,” she said.
“We will focus on early intervention, providing services such as minor surgery and managing chronic illnesses such as diabetes and asthma in primary care. As the number of primary care teams and centres continue to increase, so too will the range of services being provided.”
A HSE public information campaign on the new service is also being rolled out. which, the Department of Health said, is aimed at encouraging the 40,000 people aged 70 years or older, who do not already have a medical card or GP visit card to register.
John Hennessy, HSE national director of primary care said: “A simple online registration system is available from July 31 on www.gpvisitcard.ie.”
Registration of a person aged 70 or older just requires the person’s name, PPS number, gender, date of birth, contact details, and the selection of a GP of choice. Alternatively, people can download a form from the website www.gpvisitcard.ie, or locall 1890 252 919 to receive a copy by post. The registration form will also be available in pharmacies and local health offices.”
Dependents of over-70s, including spouses or partners who are under 70, will continue to have access to a GP service without fees where they meet existing income limits. Over-70s who already hold a medical or GP visit card do not need to register.
Helpline: 1890 252 919
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