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Financial burden Hospital overnight and day charges for under 16s to be scrapped

The charge applies to patients who are admitted to hospital and have to stay overnight and patients who have to spend the day in hospital if they have a procedure.

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Sick child in hospital. Stock image

Sick child in hospital. Stock image

Sick child in hospital. Stock image

Hospital overnight and day charges for under 16s are to be scrapped under proposals being signed off by senior ministers tomorrow in a bid to ease the financial burden on parents.

The measure, which will be brought to Cabinet by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, aims to ease the financial burden on parents and could be in place by the summer.

The charge applies to patients who are admitted to hospital and have to stay overnight and patients who have to spend the day in hospital if they have a procedure.

The charge is currently €80 per day and is capped at a maximum of €800 per year.

However, the charge will remain for patients under 16 who are admitted to emergency departments.

“Similar to measures such as free GP care for children, the aim of this measure is to reduce the financial burden on parents,” said a Government source.

The scrapping of the charge for children will require legislation and Minister Donnelly hopes that this can be passed through the Oireachtas before the summer recess.

The measure is part of the Government’s policy to introduce affordable healthcare and the Department of Health is in talks to expand free GP care to children aged six and seven.

Earlier this year, Government officials were examining if hospital charges could be reduced as part of its first cost of living package.

However, it instead moved to reduce the Drug Payment Scheme Threshold from €114 to €80, which is the maximum amount that can be spent on medicines in a month.

Medical cards have also been expanded to those who are terminally ill, broadening it out to people with a life expectancy two years or less.

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