Under 6’s care a step towards universal health care – Buttimer

Thursday, 9th April 2015

  • Department of Health, HSE and Irish Medical Organisation reach agreement on delivery of free GP care for all children aged under-6

Free GP-care for under-6’s will begin this summer. This is another important step towards universal healthcare and follows the recent agreement on free GP care for over-70s. Both will make a real difference to the lives of the youngest and oldest in our society and delivers on the Government’s promise of enhancing primary care.

So from this summer 300,000 children and senior citizens who currently have to pay to see their GP will no longer have to. All children under-6 will benefit from the new enhanced service including age-based preventive checks focused on health and wellbeing and the prevention of disease and for children diagnosed with asthma doctors will carry out an annual review of each child where athsma has been diagnosed.

Before the last General Election Fine Gael was very clear universal healthcare would take time and it is very encouraging to see that we are making progress.

Posted under Children & Youth Affairs, Health, National Work

HIQA report on Midland Regional Hospital should be published as soon as possible – Buttimer

Monday, 23rd March 2015

  • In the interests of patients and families, HIQA’s report into the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise should be published as soon as possible.

The HIQA report into the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise was commissioned by the then Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly TD, because of serious concerns about how mothers and families were treated. In the interests of patients and families, this independent report must be published as soon as possible, all other considerations should be secondary and must not block or delay its publication. This is about patients and patient safety and it cannot be about anything else.

Every person has a right to fair procedure and a right of reply to any findings that might affect them. But the threat of legal action by a State body to prevent the publication of a report commissioned by a Government Minister was a step too far. It is welcome that a process for dealing with the report has been agreed between HIQA and the HSE, now what is required in constructive efforts to get the report published as soon as possible.

When the report was commissioned it was felt then and it remains the case now that we need an independent report that examines the hospital and the HSE so that we can reassure mothers and other patients that they are receiving appropriate care. At the most difficult time when parents lose a child they should be treated with compassion by hospitals, the HSE and all staff, thankfully in the vast majority of cases this is the case.


Posted under Health, National Work

Clarification of Lifetime Community Rating rules are reassuring – Buttimer

Thursday, 19th March 2015

  • Health Insurance Authority clarifies that periods of cover as a named adult on a health insurance policy will be taken into account for the purposes of Lifetime Community Rating.

Clarification of new health insurance rules by the Health Insurance Authority reassures everyone who is named on an existing policy. It is very welcome that the HIA has confirmed that any adult named on a health insurance policy will avoid any loadings that will come into effect from 30th April. The point about the new rules is to encourage people to participate in health insurance where they can afford it.

It is regrettable that there was a need for the rules about lifetime community rating to be clarified. But now that they have been, the interpretation makes practical sense. Where someone is named on a health insurance policy and a full adult premium is paid for them, those periods of cover are taken into account for the purposes of Lifetime Community Rating.

Lifetime Community Rating is all about encouraging people to take out and maintain health insurance from a younger age. The effect of this new policy will be to make it financially more attractive for people to take out health insurance before turning 35 years of age and to maintain it over their lifetime. Up until now there has been no incentive for younger adults to take out health insurance, from 30th April that will all change, there will be a clear benefit to taking out health insurance when you are younger and healthier.


Posted under Health, National Work