Doctor organisations have warned that extending free GP care to children aged six and seven could mean longer waiting times for medical appointments.

The Irish Medical Organisation and Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) said more planning and dialogue is needed before the extension of free GP care is implemented.

Doctors say the GP system is creaking under pressure and the changes could mean same day appointments are in danger.

Chairman of the GP committee of the IMO Dr Denis McCauley said "decisions made for short term political gain could have very significant medium and long term effects in that the same day service is under threat when you increase the workload" of GPs.

ICGP Assistant Medical Director Dr Noirin O'Herlihy said she welcomed the extension, but stressed concerns that "there is not sufficient capacity within the GP workforce to support" the measure.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, she said: "GPs are already working at full capacity with many practices not accepting new patients and this is a concern.

"The ICGP is calling for a working group on the future of general practice. I think we all want universal healthcare. The problem is you can’t just decide to provide it today you have to think about what’s the plan to be put in place to support it. There has to be planning around it," added Dr O’Herlihy.

Dr McCauley also called for dialogue between doctors and government on the future of GP services in Ireland and making general practice more attractive for younger doctors.

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Separately, the Government has been criticised for failing to back its own remote working from home strategy because tax incentives are not strong enough.

Yesterday, it was announced in the Budget that employees working from home will be allowed to claim back 30% of their energy bills against their tax.

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, which represents HR professionals, said this is too low and the incentives fall short of supporting the Government's own five-year remote working strategy.

Speaking on the same programme, CIPD Director Mary Connaughton said: "The level of benefit that they’ve built in to the budget is very low.

"We estimate that this could be as low as €50 per person per year and we think there is a missed opportunity to put a more substantial and attractive benefit in place for employees.

"The budget has not reflected the Government’s statements that they support and encourage remote working. The level of tax relief that they are proposing for remote working is quite low and we do not think that that’s putting the money where their mouth is," she added.