Thursday, 5 July 2018
Health (General Practitioner Service) Bill 2018: Committee and Remaining Stages
I shall make a couple of short points because I know that many of the points have been made. I thank all of the Senators for their valuable contributions on this Bill today.
I assure Senator Higgins that personal assistant hours is an issue that is close to my heart. I agree with her that we should consider supplementary supports and consult people to discover what is needed.
I agree with Senator Dolan that every Department must respond to the issue of people with disabilities. I can assure him that I say that to my colleagues on a regular basis and I shall do so again over the next couple of weeks. We must also do the same with budgetary matters.
I welcome the fact that we have brought the legislation through all Stages in the Seanad today thus ensuring that this important service is made available to carers as quickly as possible. I hope that the service will be available on 1 September.
As a long time supporter and campaigner for people with disabilities, I am acutely aware of the pressures experienced by carers who care for people with disabilities. I know that they are often under tremendous strain to keep going. Today is a good day for those people. Removing the barrier and introducing free GP care for an additional 14,000 carers will prove to be a significant benefit, thus ensuring that health services can be accessed to prevent the health of carers from deteriorating. The measure will also aid carers in getting the necessary supports and services required for the benefit of both the carer and his or her family member or loved one.
I thank all of the Senators who contributed to this debate. They have shown great support for the rights of people with disabilities. I am personally very pleased to bring this legislation forward. It is our obligation, as public representatives, to look after those who need it most. On that note I commend the Bill and thank Senators for their support.