Healthcare in Ireland



There is no bigger headache for an expatriate than to be sick and helpless in a foreign country. But this doesn't have to be the case if you get acquainted with health care in Ireland because it is regarded as one of the best in the world.

Ireland has a two-tier system which means that locals and expatriates can either utilise the public or private healthcare system. The public sector is governed by the Health Act of 2004 which is responsible for providing healthcare services to all the people of Ireland while the private sector operates independently. Though Ireland’s overall healthcare system has always been characterised as modern and among the best, this country fell on the 2016 Eurohealth Consumer Index. Ireland ranked 26th and was overrun by other lower-income countries such as Slovenia, Macedonia and Croatia. The main reason behind the unimpressive ranking is that Ireland scored low in terms of access to health services whereas waiting times in hospitals last more than three hours.

The Irish Public Healthcare System

EU and EEA citizens are automatically eligible for public healthcare. For foreign nationals, the Irish government introduced the concept of ‘ordinary residence'. This basically means that to be eligible for healthcare coverage through the public healthcare system, non-EU nationals must prove that they are intent to remain in Ireland for at least a year. One would be required to submit documents like:

  • Work permit
  • Registration with a school or college
  • Details of an Irish bank account.

This, however, does not automatically qualify your dependents for public health care coverage, as they would also need to provide documentation to prove ‘ordinary residency'.

Services covered by the public healthcare system are quite extensive, including free maintenance and treatment in public and voluntary hospitals (which are under the Health Service Executive department), as well as outpatient services. Maternity services as well as medical services for children under the age of six months are also provided by the government for free. Laboratory tests and diagnostic assessments are also covered by the public healthcare system.

However, for patients who are above the median income, you may have to pay a minimal fee to avail of some medical services in Ireland. Examples of which are hospital charges for those treated as inpatients, which is a flat fee of 100 Euro per day.

Doctors in Ireland

Immediate care in Ireland is mostly provided by General Practitioners or GPs. These Gps usually charge on a per consultation basis which is up to EUR 60. Locals and expats that are covered by the national healthcare scheme are exempted from these charges. Doctors in Ireland are generally very competent, but it is always a better idea to meet with one that you wish to be your family doctor. There is a registration procedure for this that the Irish College of General Practitioners is now planning to establish to ensure a more systematic scheme. Ireland has around 2,500 GPs, and expats can find one by utilising the links or websites listed below:

Hospitals and Medical Services

Most major towns in Ireland have their own general hospital which covers an extensive array of medical services, including accident and emergency treatments. Smaller hospitals or district hospitals can also be found in smaller towns, but only offer limited services. There are also specialized hospitals, found mostly in bigger cities like Dublin. These hospitals offer the best medical services in their field of specialization like orthopedics, pediatrics, or psychiatry.

There are, of course, private hospitals as well, which also offer the most modern facilities, whose services are generally covered by private or international health insurance. However, if you prefer getting treatment from a private hospital, then you'd have to be prepared for higher charges. Some of the most trusted hospitals in Ireland are:

Elm Park, Dublin 4

Tel: (01) 221 4000

James's Street, Dublin 8

Tel: (01) 410 3000

Holles Street, Dublin 2

Tel: (1) 637 3100

Temple Street, Dublin

Tel: (1) 878 4200


Continue reading:

International Health Insurance