The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has launched the free contraception scheme for women aged 17–25 who reside in Ireland. Funding of €9 million has been allocated to support the scheme in Budget 2022.
Free contraception, for women aged 17–25, will become available from GPs, primary care centres and pharmacists who sign up to provide services under the scheme. All consultations with a medical practitioner required to access prescription contraception, the fitting of Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARCs) and their removal, and the provision of prescription contraception by pharmacists will be free to 17–25-year-olds.
Minister Donnelly said, “I am delighted to announce the commencement of the free contraception scheme for women aged 17–25. Women’s health is a top priority for myself and this government and was strongly supported in Budget 2022, with €31 million additional funding for new developments in women’s health, including the €9 million for this contraception scheme.”
“This represents another big milestone in the delivery of our commitments, under the Women’s Health Action Plan 2022 – 2023 to improve all areas of women healthcare. Access to free contraception was a key recommendation accompanying the Repeal of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution and is a key element of the Women’s Health Action Plan. The scheme, a vital Programme for Government commitment, puts women aged 17–25 at its centre in providing a full suite of options for them to choose which form of contraception works best for them. We are removing any financial barriers to the age cohort for whom such barriers are most likely to be an issue.”
Service providers including GPs, pharmacies, primary care centres, family planning centres and student health clinics will be signing contracts with the HSE to provide services under the scheme.
Information regarding the scheme will be available through the HSE’s sexual health and wellbeing website. This information will be regularly updated and will provide full details of how to access the scheme.