Carers urged to register for new free GP card scheme

Up to 14,000 people to benefit from initiative

 Minister of State for Disability  Finian McGrath said the Government wanted to acknowledge the incredible work carried out by carers and to say thank you. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Minister of State for Disability Finian McGrath said the Government wanted to acknowledge the incredible work carried out by carers and to say thank you. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

 

Some 14,000 adult carers have become eligible for free family doctor visits following the extension of the GP visit scheme.

Minister for Health Simon Harris and Minister of State for Disabilities Finian McGrath urged carers to register for the new service, which was agreed by Government last December.

This initiative allows us to now provide carers with the health supports that they require

The Health Service Executive (HSE) said on Sunday registration was now open and applied to people who were in receipt of either full or half rate carer’s allowance or carer’s benefit, and who did not currently hold a medical or GP visit card.

Online system

It has set up an online system for carers to register on – mymedicalcard.ie. Paper registration forms are also available from local Citizen Advice Centres or for download from the website. The HSE said completed registration forms would be processed within 15 working days.

The Department of Health said all people in receipt of carer’s allowance were to receive a GP visit card, but the National Association of General Practitioners said the announcement was “a populist move to win votes”. File photograph: Getty Images
"Availing of a GP visit card will enable the additional eligible carers to access GP services free of charge ensuring that their own physical, mental and emotional wellbeing is protected.” File photograph: Getty Images

Mr Harris said carers were the backbone of every community providing vital supports for their loved ones.

“This initiative allows us to now provide carers with the health supports that they require. Availing of a GP visit card will enable the additional eligible carers to access GP services free of charge ensuring that their own physical, mental and emotional wellbeing is protected.”

Mr McGrath said carers had devoted themselves to caring for their children, and the Government wanted to acknowledge the incredible work carried out by carers and to say thank you.

“We also want to ensure that carers themselves receive our support, and I am delighted that we have been able to ensure that 14,000 extra carers can now visit their GP for free.”