21 May 2022

Removal of in-patient charges for children agreed by Govt

Govt gives approval for removal of in-patient charges for children

Approval has been given for the abolition of the statutory public in-patient charge for children by the Cabinet today.

The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has received approval to draft the General Scheme of a Bill to provide for the abolition of both overnight and day case public in-patient charges for children under 16.

These charges have been in place for many years, therefore primary legislation will be needed to amend the Health Act 1970 to abolish the public in-patient charge for children under 16 years of age. The legislation needed to fulfil this objective will now be developed by the Department of Health and the draft Bill will be published as soon as it is finalised.  

The proposed Bill will remove the existing acute statutory in-patient charge of €80 per night for all children less than 16 years of age in all public hospitals.  

Minister Donnelly said: “I welcome the approval by Government today for the drafting of this important legislation. This proposal is yet another important step towards delivering universal healthcare in Ireland.

"This legislation, when drafted and enacted, will ease the financial burden of parents/guardians when bringing their child to hospital for in-patient care and will help to ensure that cost is not a significant consideration when children require access to in-patient treatment.

"Our goal is Universal Healthcare and this is another important step towards affordability as it will make our public hospitals free for children when they access treatment as a public patient.

"I hope that, with the support of all parties in the Oireachtas, these charges will be abolished by the summer," he said. 

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