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Waterford GP agrees free care for all is a long way off

A lack of GPs could hinder efforts to expand free GP care for all, according to a report from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

The study found that providing free GP access to all citizens in 2026 would cost the State between €381 and €881 million.

The report warns that there may not be enough GPs to provide the service given the ageing and growing population.

Dr Austin Byrne from Tramore Medical Clinic told 'DΓ©ise Today' that he agrees such a measure is a long way off.

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"Genuinely, it can't be done in the next 15 to 20 years," he said. "There will be a political push towards it but we'll have to halt it perhaps around a third of the way into it when it starts to fall apart. That's the reality of it."

A lack of GPs could hinder efforts to expand free GP care for all, according to the ESRI.

Dr Byrne is also warning against making medical decisions on political grounds.

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"There's been a very gratuitous shift towards the notion of free everything for anyone we can deliver it to. That's happened in healthcare and we see it elsewhere - anywhere where it's felt it can be done for a defined amount, politicians will jump all over it."

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