Wednesday 26 October 2016

Sick children need care, not U6s - charity boss


Jonathan Irwin
Jonathan Irwin

Plans to give free GP care to healthy under-sixes ahead of kids with life-limiting conditions make no sense, the head of a charity has claimed.

Jonathan Irwin, the CEO and founder of the Jack & Jill Children's Foundation, said that the concerns expressed by the National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) in Dublin regarding free GP care for under-sixes are totally justified.


"Giving this population an automatic entitlement, while their brothers and sisters in the same age group, children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions, are subjected to a means test via their parents is just not right, and doesn't sit well with the Jack & Jill Children's Foundation," Mr Irwin said.

"Children with additional needs, some with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions, should be first in the queue for the medical and early intervention support they require ahead of their healthy siblings," he added.

Mr Irwin, who is a prominent member of the Renua party, said that it just doesn't make sense for the Government to be introducing free GP care for the under-sixes when the children who are most vulnerable in this cohort are not getting the full and automatic support they require, and parents are still being put through hoops on medical card entitlement.

"The fact that we are having this debate at this time is a real example of this Government putting the election cart before the horse," Mr Irwin said.

The charity is calling on Health Minister Leo Varadkar to prioritise children with additional needs and to get their requirements fulfilled.

He said that ideally both these children and under-sixes would get the free care.

"But needs must and this Government must first focus on the children who really do need the support," he said.

Read Pricilla Lynch, p14

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