A SCHEME providing free GP visits for children could be expanded to cover full-time students in higher education, if an amendment to the proposed Government Plan is successful.
The initiative, which was announced by Social Security Minister Elaine Millar in July – providing free face-to-face surgery consultations with GPs, nurses, paramedics, pharmacists and healthcare assistants – currently applies to those aged up to 17.
It includes access to a range of additional services free of charge, including blood and urine tests, referral letters, ECGs, swabs, spirometry, ear syringing and pregnancy tests.
In an amendment to the proposed Government Plan – due for debate next month – Reform Deputy Carina Alves is seeking £75,000 from the Health Insurance Fund to extend the scheme to all full-time students, including those at Highlands College or at colleges and universities in the UK or abroad.
The report accompanying her amendment states: “Keeping individuals in good health leads to more productive members of our society. Providing free healthcare to full-time students sets them up with good habits for the future and is therefore an investment in a healthier future workforce.
“Students who receive adequate healthcare are more likely to complete and continue with their education, pursuing higher levels of employment as well as specialising in certain areas leading to a more skilled workforce making a positive contribution to society and the economy.”