Health Minister announces free GP visit cards for all carers

An extra €10 million will also be provided to help fund respite care

Health Minister announces free GP visit cards for all carers

Simon Harris. Image:

The Health Minister has announced free GP cards for all carers.

The Government also says they have also found an extra €10 million to fund respite care.

Minister Simon Harris says it means anyone getting carers allowance who previously didn't qualify for the GP card will get one.

He observed: "It will benefit tens of thousands of carers who currently don't have a free GP card - and it will also mean that many of them who do have a card will no longer be subjected to reviews in relation to that card.

"This is a direct response to hearing the voices of carer when they talk about who cares for them when they need medical attention, when they get sick, when they need to visit their GP."

The Government also says €8 million will provide 12 dedicated respite houses around the country.

The remaining €2 million will be used to help fund 'respite solutions' such as home sharing and extended day services.

Minister of State with special responsibility for Disability, Finian McGrath, explained: “I am very aware of the pressure on carers of people with disabilities who are often under tremendous strain to keep going.  

"I hope that this funding will enable them to get a well-deserved break and to maintain their own health and wellbeing." 

Reporting by Sean Defoe & Stephen McNeice