Free contraception for people who menstruate, who are aged between 17 and 25, is now available.
The scheme covers all types of contraception, including receiving the oral contraceptive pill, the insertion of an IUD and purchasing emergency contraception.
People in this cohort can also avail of free GP appointments concerning contraception.
The new initiative is being rolled out under the Health Act 2022 which was signed into law by the President earlier this year.
Here on campus, Supervising Pharmacist at Matt O’Flaherty Chemist Emer O’Connor is delighted with the rollout, and says the team are looking forward to implementing the scheme for students.
Speaking to SIN, O’Connor said “This is now available in our chemist for anyone with a prescription, all you need is your PPS number.
“There is a portal that the HSE are rolling out for the scheme which is still getting underway, and once that’s up and running things will be a lot smoother for us. But, we have already dispensed it to people.
“For emergency contraception, it is now completely free which is particularly benefitting people who were not under the GMS scheme in Ireland.”
The University of Galway has a large demographic of people eligible for the scheme with the Students’ Union praising it’s introduction.
President Sai Guijalla says “Personally I believe this is definitely a great initiative especially with the ongoing inflation and the cost of living crisis this initiative provides a breather for students in terms of costs and hopefully this scheme will expand in the future and will breakdown the stigma surrounding women and sex in our society.”
The new scheme has been welcomed as a way of alleviating pressures on students suffering with the cost-of-living crisis around the country.
In a statement, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said that free contraception is a cost-effective measure, which will positively reduce the cost burden on women.
He believes the scheme may also “reduce 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.”