A welcome step forward for women’s health is set to take place next year, as it was announced that those aged 17-25 would be able to access free contraception. It’s part of a new €31 million women’s health package in the Irish budget for 2022.
This new access will come into place from August next year, and is part of a wider health plan that includes period poverty and sexual assault treatment units.
Irish Family Planning Association Chief Executive Officer Niall Behan said: “The high upfront cost of the most effective long-lasting contraceptives makes them inaccessible to many women, who are currently forced to rely on less effective methods, or no method at all.”
An additional 8,000 health staff have also joined the service, as well as the welcome extension of free GP care to children aged six and seven, meaning access for healthcare is improved all round.
Some €10 million is pledged towards the issue of period poverty, tackling the vast issue of many women not being able to access or afford sanitary products.
It’s a welcome step forward, and one that should be built on in future budgets. This year marks the largest budget allocation on health in Ireland’s history, with an eye-watering €22.2 billion going into the sector.
Other spending includes an additional €105 million towards disability services; €37 million for mental health services, and €30 million for cancer and other strategies, plus investment in trauma centres and transplant programmes.