Free GP care by 2016 'a pipe dream'

The head of the Irish Medical Organisation's GP Committee Ray Walley has labelled the Government's plan for free GP care by 2016 a "pipe dream".

His comments come after new research for the Irish Medical Journal suggested medical card holders are twice as likely to go to their GP as non-medical card holders.

It found medical card holders visit a GP about eight times a year compared to private patients who make three visits.

Walley said that he supports free GP care, but the Government's strategy is not workable.

"It is a pipe dream in the time that he is advocating," he said.

"We're advocating that you do this over a 10-year period - first with the individuals who most need it, not with a group of individuals under six, whereby there is no evidence out there that they are being disenfranchised."

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