Plan for free care for under-6s will ‘overwhelm’ GPs

Study shows children with medical cards visited GPs more often than those without

The Irish Medical Organisation said 
last night 
the research showed 
that
the 
Government’s
under-sixes plan would  create waiting lists for GPs for the first time.

The Irish Medical Organisation said last night the research showed that the Government’s under-sixes plan would create waiting lists for GPs for the first time.

Sat, Apr 12, 2014, 08:51

Government plans to extend free GP care to children aged under six will result in an extra 750,000 visits to doctors each year, new research suggests.

The Irish Medical Organisation said the research showed the plan would “overwhelm” doctors’ surgeries and create waiting lists for GPs for the first time.

The study published in the Irish Medical Journal found a big variation in the frequency of GP attendances by children depending on whether or not they had a medical card.

Children with full or doctor-only medical cards paid an average of five visits to the GP annually, while private patients among the under-6s went just twice a year. The average for all children aged under six was three visits a year. Almost 2,000 children attending six surgeries were surveyed for the research.

The authors acknowledge their results are considerably higher than those reported in much larger studies, but they say their work is based on documented clinical activity.