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Legislation to Abolish In-Patient Charges for Children and for Free Contraception to Women Aged 17-25

The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly welcomed the signing into law by President Michael D. Higgins of the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) (No. 2) Act 2022. Once commenced, the Act will provide for the abolition of both overnight and day case public in-patient charges for children less than 16 years of age in all public hospitals and also provides for the introduction of a free contraception scheme for women aged 17-25. The 2 measures are scheduled to come into operation by early September this year.

Minister Donnelly recently brought the Bill through the Houses of the Oireachtas and it successfully passed all stages of the Dáil and the Seanad last week with cross-party support.

Minister Donnelly said, “I welcome the good news that the President has signed this very important Act, as the measures provided in this legislation are very much intended to support access to care for those who need it in a manner that is fair and affordable.”

“Abolishing acute in-patient hospital charges for children under 16 is focused towards easing the financial burden of parents or guardians when bringing their child to hospital for in-patient care. Free contraception is a cost-effective measure, reducing both crisis pregnancy and termination of pregnancy rates. Given that the costs of prescription contraception are typically faced by women, the scheme will impact positively on gender equity, reducing costs for women, but also benefitting their partners and families, starting with women aged 17-25.”

“In the context of current cost-of-living challenges, I am delighted to be able to introduce these 2 significant measures aimed at alleviating cost pressures for individuals and families when seeking to access healthcare.”


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