MEDIA REPRESENTATION: A woman reads out the names of people she’s met in the past month in a mobile clinic as part a national programme, on the island of Ireland.
The programme is called “Family Medicine” and will be rolled out across the country from April.
The first patients to sign up will receive free medication.
In Dublin, Dr Daniel Máire has been running a family medicine clinic for more than a decade.
“I am very proud of what I have achieved, because I have a patient base of almost 50,000 people, and I see that number increase every month,” he said.
The first patients who sign up for the program will receive one month’s free treatment.
Dr Máir said the aim is to have as many families as possible using family medicine.
“The family medicine is not about a clinic, it is about the health of the family and the wellbeing of the children and the elderly,” he added.
Ireland is one of the few developed countries that does not require a family doctor.
Dr Mírthain Maughan, from the Institute of Family Medicine at the University of Limerick, said the first families to sign-up for the programme will receive a six-week course.
He said that the family medicine programme is a response to the growing number of people seeking a medical professional.
“It is important that we keep the existing family medicine population healthy and healthy people in the country,” he explained.
This is what Dr Máair said is behind the new national programme.
A spokeswoman for the Health Service Executive said the Government is committed to providing high-quality family medicine and that the new programme is part of this commitment.
“As part of the National Family Care and Carers Plan, the Government will introduce mandatory National Family Medicine, in a phased manner, to increase the proportion of families who are getting free treatment,” the spokeswoman said.