Ireland has announced an investment of over €23 billion in Budget 2023 in Health and Social Care Services. Budget 2023 will increase the eligibility of people for General Practice (GP) access cards.
The scheme will be expanded to cover all children aged 6 and 7 by the end of 2022 and, from 1 April 2023, eligibility will further be extended to people who earn the median household income of €46,000 or less. This means that almost half of the population will have access to free GP care. It is envisaged that these measures will be supported by a significant package of additional capacity supports to GP practices.
“The significant investment in Budget 2023, the highest allocation of funding to the health service in the history of the state, will facilitate better access to affordable, high-quality healthcare for people at a time when the cost-of-living crisis is impacting on everyone.” said Minister Donnelly.
“Half a million additional people will be eligible to access free GP care. This is a gamechanger for our health service. Ensuring that more people can afford to visit their GP gives access to healthcare in the right place – one of the central commitments in the Programme for Government. It also removes the burden on people who may defer GP visits because they simply cannot afford it. All inpatient hospital charges will be abolished from 1 April, which amounts to a saving of up to €800 per person per year. This measure is of particular benefit to those individuals who are hospitalised more frequently but who do not hold a medical card. I am delighted that the additional financial burden these charges represent is being removed. These ground-breaking measures continue to create a health and social care service that offers affordable access to quality healthcare.” Minister Donnelly said.
Minister Rabbitte said: “As Ireland and the health service continues to manage the challenges arising from ongoing international events, the COVID-19 pandemic and rising costs in particular, the investment we are announcing in Budget 2023 will support people who are living with disabilities in one of the areas they need it most – financially. I am delighted to announce an overall increase of €177 million in funding for Disabilities. This includes €29.5 million to build long-term capacity for Specialist Disability Services and other Disability initiatives, future-proofing our health service for people living with disabilities. In addition to the increased core funding I have secured for 2023, I also anticipate that there will be significant support to S39 providers in the disability sector from the €100 million once off Health sector fund Minister Donnelly has mentioned above.
“This additional funding will help build capacity in priority areas, progressing implementation of actions in the Disability Capacity Review to 2032. This will include additional residential service capacity, and additional day service places to ensure that places are available for all of the 2023 school-leavers who require it.”