Children under 16 can now stay in public hospitals for free
In-patient charges for children under 16 were €80 per night, up to a maximum of €800 a year.
The Government has announced that children under the age of 16 will now be able to stay in public hospitals for free.
Public in-patient charges in all public hospitals have been abolished, effective as of Wednesday (21 September).
Currently, public patients are subject to a charge of €80 per night, capped at 10 nights per year, or €800.
Children under 16 are now exempt from this charge, along with medical card holders and other specific people.
The Commencement Order for the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) (No.2) Act 2022 that removed the charges was signed by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly today.
“Better access, together with affordability and improved quality are amongst my top priorities in healthcare," Donnelly said.
"Therefore, I am delighted to announce that from today, children under 16 will no longer be charged when accessing public in-patient care as a patient in our public hospitals. This significant change to healthcare provision in Ireland is focused towards easing the financial burden of parents or guardians when bringing their child to hospital for in-patient care.
“In the context of current cost-of-living challenges this is another important commitment by Government towards affordability, as it will make our public hospitals free for children when they require access to treatment as a public patient."
The Act is the latest in a series of moves by the Government to make healthcare cheaper for young people.
From last week, women aged between 17 and 25 years old are now able to avail of free contraception from GPs, primary care centres, and pharmacists who sign up to a new scheme.
Consultations to access prescription contraception and the fitting and removal of Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) will also be free for the cohort.
Based on census data from 2016, it is estimated that around 250,000 women in the 17-25 age cohort will be able to avail of free contraception under this scheme.