Govt defeated in Seanad vote on free GP care for under-6s
Plans to introduce free GP care for under-6s could be delayed for a further six months after the Government lost a vote in the Seanad.
Senators have narrowly passed an amendment which will ban the HSE from placing doctors under gagging orders, forbidding them from criticising the health service.
Proceedings in the Seanad were immediately abandoned in the wake of the surprise result.
Unless Senators vote to remove the amendment again next week, the bill will have to go back to the Dáil, which will mean a mandatory six-month delay in passing the bill.
The Government had originally planned to begin the scheme in July, but was planning on having it up and running by the autumn.
However, the scheme could now be delayed into the New Year as a result of today's vote.