Health Services in Ireland

The HSE provides health and social services to everyone living in Ireland. HSE services are delivered to young and old, in hospitals, health facilities and in communities across the country. Click here to the full range of services available through the HSE

Your Guide to Medical Cards

Am I eligible |How to apply | Assessment Process | Reviews and Appeals | Questions and Answers | Contact Us

A Medical Card is a plastic card, about the size of a credit card, issued by the HSE. People who hold a Medical Card are entitled to a range of Health Services free of charge.

What Health Services are available Free of Charge if I have a Medical Card?

You are entitled to the following services if you have a Medical Card:

  • Doctor Visits – a range of family doctor or GP services from a chosen doctor contracted to the HSE in your local area;
  • Prescription Medicines: The supply of prescribed approved medicines, aids and appliances like wheelchairs, crutches etc. In some circumstances a deposit may be required for aids and appliances which will be refunded on return of the aid or appliance. A €2.50 charge applies to all prescription medicines dispensed to medical card patients;
  • Certain Dental, Ophthalmic (Eye), and Aural (Ear) health services;
  • Hospital Care – all in-patient services in public wards in public hospitals, including public consultant services;
  • Hospital Visits – All out-patient services in public hospitals, including public consultant services;
  • Medical & Midwifery Care for Mothers, including health care related to pregnancy and the care of the child for six weeks after birth;
  • Some personal and social care services, for example, public health nursing, social work services and other community care services based on client need.

You may also be entitled to the following additional benefits if you have a Medical Card:

  • No need to pay the health portion of your social insurance (PRSI);
  • Free transport to school for children who live 3 miles or more from the nearest school;
  • Exemption from state examination fees in public second-level schools;
  • Financial help with buying school books. The benefits above are available from the relevant government department.

The HSE is committed to ensuring that everyone who is eligible for a medical card received one as quickly as possible and that those who are no longer eligible do not continue to hold cards.  If you are not eligible for a medical card, you may be eligible for a GP Visit Card or the Long Term Illness Scheme.

Your Guide to GP Visit Cards

The GP Visit Card allows individuals and families to visit their family doctor for free.

Learn More about the GP Visit Card for over 70s GP Visit Card Over 70s

Learn more about the new GP Visit Card for Children Under 6 starting on July 1st GP Visit Card under 6s

If your application for a Medical Card was unsuccessful you will automatically be assessed for a GP Visit Card. GP Visit Card

Maternity and Infant Care Scheme

Click here for further information on the Maternity and Infant Scheme.  Every woman who is pregnant and ordinarily resident in Ireland is entitled to maternity care under the Maternity and Infant Scheme. Ordinarily resident means you are living here, or you intend to remain living here for at least one year.

HSE immunisation programmes for children and adults

Click here for further information about HSE immunisation programmes for children, adults and healthcare professionals in Ireland

Services for Older People in Ireland

The HSE provides a wide range of services for people growing older in Ireland. Supports are also available from other agencies like the Department of Social Protection, Local Authorities and Voluntary Organisations.   Click here for further information

Children and Family Services

The Children & Family Services functions of the HSE are now part of the Child and Family Agency, Tusla. Which was established by law on 1 January 2014.
Please click here to access the new Child and Family Agency website, TUSLA.ie

Disability Services

The HSE provides a range of services for people with intellectual, physical and sensory disabilities or autism. These services include basic health services as well as assessment, rehabilitation, income maintenance, community care and residential care.

Some services are provided directly by the HSE. Many of the community, residential and rehabilitative training services are provided by voluntary organisations with grant aid from the HSE. Click here for further information

E111 European Health Insurance Card

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) can be used to cover any necessary medical treatment due to either an accident or illness within the European Economic Area (EEA). The EHIC entitles the holder to state-provided medical treatment within the country they are visiting and the service provided will be the same as received by a person covered by the country´s ‘insured’ medical scheme.

The European Health Insurance Card came into existence on the 1st of January 2006.  Click here to apply for a European Health Insurance Card 

Patients from the EU

Visitors from EU countries are entitled to emergency care without charge provided they have a European Health Insurance card (EHIC) from their own country, valid at the time of their visit. 

Patients from the UK

Visitors from EU countries are entitled to emergency care without charge provided they have proof of NHS eligibility.  Your personal UK national insurance number is considered proof of NHS eligibility.

Patients from the rest of the world

In many situations your health insurance may reimburse some of the costs involved in your visit.   A receipt will be provided by our staff at the time of payment, which can then be presented to your insurance company.