Hospital charges for under 16s set to be abolished, Minister says
The change is hoped for the summer.
Public hospital in-patient charges for any child under the age of 16 are set to be abolished, the Minister for Health has confirmed.
Stephen Donnelly confirmed today that he received Cabinet approval to draft a bill to abolish both overnight and day case public in-patient charges for children under 16.
In a statement, the Department of Health said: "These charges have been in place for many years, therefore primary legislation will be needed to amend the Health Act 1970.
"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."
Speaking after Cabinet, Minister Donnelly added: "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.
"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."
He also said he hoped that these charges will be abolished by summer.