Health Minister

  • The Minister for Health's been given the green light from government to introduce free GP care for under 13s and medical cards for over 70s.

    The Department of Health will now draft a bill that'll extend free GP care to all children of primary school age.

    It'll be phased in, starting with six and seven year-olds this year.

    The legislation will also see the weekly gross income threshold for over 70s seeking a medical card increase from 500 to 550 euro for individuals and from 900 to 1,050 euro for couples.

    It's expected to benefit up to 56,000 people.


    The Health Minister says 200 GPs have signed up to provide abortion services.

    Simon Harris says he expects more providers to come on board next week, some current ones will expand their service.

    The Minister has also stated he will be working on providing safe access zones and access to contraception.

    He expects to have announcements on next steps for both very shortly.



  • The Health Minister says the passing of the abortion legislation is a "significant step" towards a "new era for Irish women".

    The legislation passed by 90 votes to 15 in the Dail last night with 12 abstentions - and now goes to the Seanad for final approval.

    The government's hopeful that can happen next week so termination services can begin in January.

    Medical guidelines for doctors are now being prepared - but Health Minister Simon Harris says it's important no woman is turned away by a GP.

  • There's a call on the Health Minister Simon Harris to explain why he went against expert advice and announced extra free smear testing.

    Fianna Fail TD Lisa Chambers says he must immediately tackle the confusion over the latest developments in the CervicalCheck controversy.

    6,000 women will get letters next week asking them to take another smear test as their original one was made unreliable due to being delayed.

    Deputy Chambers says it's put pressure on the system and is taking too long.

  • The Minister for Health Simon Harris and the Minister for Mental Health Jim Daly have both agreed to meet a delegation to discuss the future of the Rosalie Home in Castlerea.

    That’s according to Roscommon FG Senator Maura Hopkins, who has spoken with both ministers, and says they have agreed to meet a delegation.

    Senator Hopkins is currently arranging the meeting, which would also include HSE management.

    In addition, she says Minister Jim Daly will visit the Rosalie Unit at the end of this month, where he will meet with residents, family members and healthcare professionals.

    Up to 300 people attended a public meeting in Castlerea last Thursday night amid concerns that the Rosalie unit may close, as the HSE says it is not part of their plans going forward.

  • The Health Minister has tested negative for Covid-19.

    Stephen Donnelly started to feel sick yesterday afternoon and was tested for the virus.

    He confirmed last night his result was negative, and his cabinet colleagues no longer have to restrict their movements.