Free Access to GP Care

63,883 people in Cork benefit from free GP care under Varadkar Government – Jerry Buttimer

Almost 64,000 people in Cork can now visit the GP free of charge as a result of health reforms introduced by Fine Gael over the past two and a half years.

That’s according to Fine Gael Senator and Candidate in Cork South Central who said the party has eliminated the cost of seeing the doctor for over 45,000 people since June 2017, when Leo Varadkar was elected Taoiseach.

“Fine Gael believes in universal healthcare. We believe the cost of going to the doctor should never be a barrier for families accessing care,” he said.

“We have made some progress. We have removed the cost of visiting the doctor for our carers and provided medical cards to children with disabilities. We have introduced free GP care for children under the age of six.

“We want to do more and will start with children aged 6 and 7 in September this year.”

Senator Buttimer added : “Minister for Health Simon Harris TD has confirmed to me that over 2,000 people in Cork South Lee alone have benefited from these measures. Taking all of County Cork the increase in people with access to free GP care was 4,819 since 1st June 2017.

“It is important we balance the need to reduce the cost of healthcare with the necessity to resource our GPs.

“Minister Harris and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced a €210 million agreement with GPs but we know we must do more. This is an ongoing process, and always will be.

“This is why we will launch a review of general practice this year and hold discussions with the Irish Medical Organisation on a new fee for free GP care for under 6s and 7s.”

Fine Gael has made a number of steps to reduce the cost of healthcare including reductions in the monthly Drugs Payment Scheme threshold, reduction in prescription charges and giving more access to medical cards for those aged 70.

Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD added “These changes are about ensuring and supporting care in the community setting, a fundamental goal of Sláintecare.

“You can check your eligibility for the GP visit card at and you can apply for the Drugs Payment Scheme at or through your Local Health Office. The reduction in prescription fees will be applied automatically.

“This is another step forward benefitting people across society; young, old, families, single people, low income and better off.”