Family Carers Ireland welcomes the introduction of the GP visit card scheme for family carers in receipt of Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Benefit and believes that it will have a real and positive impact on the physical and mental health of carers who qualify under the scheme.
“We are hopeful that it will introduce preventative health measures by allowing carers attend annual medical checks with their GP’s and look after their own health and well-being, something that they often ignore when providing full time care for a loved one” stated Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Carer Engagement, Family Carers Ireland.
Family Carers Ireland are, however, disappointed that the scheme was not extended to include all carers in receipt of the Carer’s Support Grant as this payment is made to full time carers based on their high level of caring but not on their means whereas Carer’s Allowance is a means-tested payment.
The cost of extending the scheme to carers in receipt of the Carer’s Support Grant would be in the region of €2 million per annum (based on an additional 10,000 carers) which is a small price to pay when compared with the €10 billion that Ireland’s 355,000 family carers save this state every year.
We would ask that the Minister extend the scheme to all full time carers as a matter of urgency.
Carers can register for the GP Visit Card here.