Independent TD Mattie McGrath has accused the Government of using its planned roll out of free GP visits for children under six as part of a disingenuous strategy designed to deflect attention away from a health service in a chronic state of crisis. Deputy McGrath made his comments as the National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) have openly defied the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) by vigorously rejecting the deal proposed by Health Minister Leo Varadkar:
“This plan does not reflect any great Government commitment to helping the most sick and vulnerable children in our society.
Instead it will institutionalise and embed into the very structure of our local health services a chronically unfair distribution of resources.
Every GP I have talked to in relation to this issue is opposed to it on those grounds, as are national organisations like the Jack&Jill Foundation.
The Government have and will no doubt continue to pursue its own agenda here in terms of seeking to portray itself as compassionate, but the weight of evidence is firmly against this in so many other areas.
The steady decline and erosion of mental health services, the scandal of social worker allocation for distressed children, the ongoing chaos in the A&E Departments and perhaps most tellingly, this Government’s utter refusal to re-situate the National Children Hospital all tell a very different story in terms of its commitment to children’s health.
I would certainly appeal to the Minister to listen to the GP’s on the ground who know the service; who know that when it comes to providing medical care there can be no justification for not providing that care first and foremost to children in chronic need,” concluded Deputy McGrath.