• Introduction to the Irish healthcare system

    The Irish healthcare system is divided into public and private services. Both services are provided by the Health Service Executive (HSE) which is responsible for providing public and community health services. For more information about the Irish Health Service go to:

    Health services_leaflet
    How to access primary healthcare services and supports in Ireland – infographic poster for display in GP clinics, health care centres & migrant support services.

    Information leaflet for migrants accessing healthcare including what ‘Ordinarily Resident’ means and access to free or subsidised healthcare supports and services.

  • General Practitioners (GP)

    A General Practitioner (GP) is a doctor who provides health services to people in his/her surgery (office) or in the patient’s home. If you do not have a Medical Card or a GP Visit Card you will have to pay for this service.

    There are no set fees in Ireland for GP services. If you wish to check costs, contact your local surgery directly. At present, charges are approximately €60 per visit.

  • Public Health Care

    If you are “ordinarily resident”, you can access a range of public health services that are free of charge or subsidised by the Irish government. Generally, if you are living here for at least one year or you intend to live in Ireland for at least one year, you will be considered “ordinarily resident”.

    There are two types of patient in the public healthcare system:

    • Category 1 – People with Medical Cards (full entitlement to access public health services)
    • Category 2 – People without Medical Cards (limited access to public health services).
  • Medical Cards

    A medical card is issued by a Health Service Executive (HSE) Area in Ireland. Medical card holders are entitled to receive certain health services free of charge.

    For more information go to:

    You can also apply online for a medical card:

  • GP Visit Cards

    A GP Visit Card holder is entitled to free GP services; however, they will have to pay for hospital services and a limited amount for prescription drugs. To apply for a GP Visit Card, you use the same application form for a medical card. While your GP Visit Card application is being processed, the HSE will also assess your entitlement for a full medical card.

    Children under 6 years of age are entitled to a GP Visit Card

    Adults over 70 years of age are also entitled to a GP Visit Card

    For more information go to:

  • Mental Health and Wellbeing

    Many people experience mental health problems over the course of their life. You can access mental health services through your GP or through the community and hospital based services offered by the HSE.

    For more information go to:

    There are also voluntary organisations which support people with mental health illnesses:

    • Aware provides information and support for people suffering from depression and their family and friends:
    • Pieta House provides support for people who are suicidal or have been bereaved through suicide or who self harm: or Freephone: 1800 247 247
    • Samaritans is a confidential emotional support service for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair: or Freephone: 116 123
    • Jigsaw is an initiative working with communities to ensure that young people aged 12 to 25 are better supported to achieve mental health and wellbeing:
    • Mental Health Ireland is a national voluntary organisation which aims to promote positive mental health and to actively support persons with a mental illness, their families and carers by identifying their needs and advocating their rights: