The Irish Public Healthcare system is governed by the Health Service Executive (HSE). Entitlement to health services is primarily based on residency and means, rather than on your payment of tax or pay-related social insurance (PRSI). Any person, regardless of nationality, who is accepted by the Health Service Executive (HSE) as being ordinarily resident in Ireland has eligibility to health services. You are ordinarily resident if you have been living in Ireland for at least a year or you intend to live here for at least one year.
People in Ireland can avail of a range of private healthcare services. You must pay the full costs of treatment if you opt for private healthcare.
Health insurance is used to pay for private care in hospital or from health professionals in hospitals or in their practices.
All private health insurance providers in Ireland are registered with the Health Insurance Authority (HIA), the country’s independent regulator for private health insurance.
In Ireland, a general practitioner, or GP, is a doctor who works from a private surgery rather than a hospital. Unless you have a medical emergency, then the GP is usually your first point of contact. If you need to see a specialist, called ‘consultants’, then you require a referral from a GP.
To find a GP in your local area, use the HSE Service Finder Map.
GPs are usually part of the private healthcare system and so you will usually need to pay charges when you see one. However, adults over 70 and children under 6 are entitled to a GP visit card, which allows them to visit a GP free of charge.
There are no set fees or charges for GP services. Contact your GP before your first visit to find out about charges.