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Area ‘social democrats’ not quite getting the idea of ‘free’. February 17, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics.

Fees may apply to Coalition’s free GP scheme
White says ’nominal’ fees could prevent abuse

And one very reasonable question from a delegate…

During a question and answer session, Mr White was asked by a delegate if free GP care could evolve along the same lines as free third level education only for fees to “creep back in in the future”. Registration fees have been introduced at third level and increased after a period.


1. Richard - February 17, 2014

The Labour Party regrets any excessive meaning attributed to the word ‘free’. Also, ‘labour’.


2. ivorthorne - February 17, 2014


Nicely done Richard.

Have Labour admitted that free fees no longer exist yet?


3. hardcorefornerds - February 17, 2014

Area political blog rehashing controversy from Atlee government and founding of the NHS and subsequent introduction of prescription charges…

Not that the argument doesn’t have merit, but it’s hardly new.


WorldbyStorm - February 17, 2014

Actually NHS GP visit fees are free (though notes etc aren’t usually), the controversy is over whether to start charging fees for visits, so that’s a situation of free access to GPs moving possibly to non free access in relation to visits. Here we have visit fees from the get go and having had the prospect of free GP visits dangled in front of people there now appears to be a rowing back so i guess id argue the situations are sufficiently different and the rhetoric equally so that its worth working out how this govt is resiling somewhat from its own promises.


hardcorefornerds - February 17, 2014

True, but I guess my point was that UK social democrats already had a flaming row about introducing nominal fees to an element of ‘free’ healthcare provision, when it wasn’t free prior, and when that whole model was being initially established. So it’s not an unprecedented conflict in social democracy.


WorldbyStorm - February 17, 2014

I see where you’re coming from and I think it’s possible to see in this a dividing line between moderate social democracy/social liberalism and left social democracy. For various reasons I’d place myself in the latter camp but I think too that question from the delegate is central and looking at those pushing for ‘nominal’ charges in the UK it’s clear it’s regarded as revenue generation, hard not to feel that the ground is being prepared for same here rather than purely through taxation.


Joe - February 17, 2014

And who does hcfn think he is with his “area political blog”? The CLR’s area knows no bounds. Its area is as broad as it is long. The CLR has its eagle eye on hcfn.


hardcorefornerds - February 17, 2014

“Its area is as broad as it is long” That just means it’s a square…🙂


WorldbyStorm - February 17, 2014

Square? Most definitely, that’s us alright!🙂


4. Liberius - February 17, 2014

All this talk of free ‘GP’ care is symptomatic though of a fairly straitjacketed view of what constitutes progress in health provision. Would it ever occur to them that the GPs themselves with their independence from direct accountability are actually a large drain on the resources of the state that they themselves seem to regard as being the route necessity behind the need to ‘tighten our belts’. All those practices, all those accounts, all that rent; I’d imagine our GPs are quietly terrified of the notion of anyone learning of the word ‘polyclinic’. Of course that is all low level structures, but then, even on the high level we are regaled with talk of universal health insurance as being the panacea for panaceas. Healthcare policy isn’t an area likely to generate bright ideas in Ireland when half of those thinking about it are stuck in a bucolic world of jovial doctors on bicycle and the other half are obsessed with how the ‘free-market’ can provide everything they* need.

* they not being we, obviously.


Dr. X - February 17, 2014

The old Polyclinics are still alive and well here in the former GDR. Having used one myself when I needed vaccines and the like, I commend them to the house.


Dr. X - February 17, 2014
5. Colm B - February 17, 2014

Prescription charges in UK today? All of the UK? Haven’t you forgotten somewhere? North, that’s it, further north, nearly there, just past Carlisle…


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