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Health Service

Ireland - Health Service

Ireland has high standards of healthcare. The country has well equipped and quality health facilities for its citizens. Although the standards of healthcare are high, medical facilities are not easily available in some rural areas.

There are more than 1650 general health practitioners in Ireland. These professionals are competent, qualified, and trained to operate the latest medical equipment available in both public and private hospitals. However, it is important to know that the number of public hospitals is in Ireland is limited. Entitlement to health care benefits in Ireland is solely determined by your residence status.

Emergency Phone Numbers

Like any other country, Ireland has various numbers you can call in case of an emergency. You can contact the fire, police, or ambulance by dialing either 112 or 999. You will be asked to provide the following details when you call for emergency services in Ireland:

• Location of the scene of accident/emergency
• Any noticeable landmarks nearby
• The phone number you are calling from
• More details of the emergency itself, i.e. description of injuries and the number of people involved

It is important to know that the emergency numbers listed above are for life-threatening emergencies or accidents. Other emergency numbers and additional services of note in Ireland include:

• Irish Tourist Assistance Service – 01-4785295
• Alcoholics Anonymous – 01-4538998
• Rape Crisis Center – 1800-778888 or 1800-212122
• AWARE Depression Support – 01-6766166

You can also get in touch with your embassy in case of an emergency while in Ireland.

Standards of Healthcare

Ireland has a very high standard of healthcare. Health services and policies are regulated by the Minister for Health and Children, while the Health Service Executive takes care of executing health policies.

Since healthcare is free in Ireland, people are not necessarily subjected to fees. However, this only applies to Irish citizens and citizens from European Economic Area (EEA),which includes all EU member states, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Iceland. All non-citizens must provide evidence of having an Irish bank account to enjoy free medical services, otherwise they will have to pay. However, emergency services may be offered free of charge depending on the level of urgency.

Foreigners living in Ireland have access to subsidized or free public health services mainly funded by the government. All public hospitals in Ireland are administered by the Health Service Executive. There are also voluntary public hospitals, which are normally operated privately but funded by the government.

It is important to know that you may have to pay for certain medical services, albeit at a reduced fee. Irish citizens and citizens from European Union countries with a European Health Insurance Card can access free or discounted emergency care in public health facilities.

Some expats cannot access free or subsidized public health services unless it is an emergency. It is important to know that foreigners’ entitlement to health services mainly depends on their residency status. Anyone with entitlement to healthcare services in another EU/EEA member state or Switzerland may have access to healthcare services in Ireland under EU rules. You can apply for a European Health Insurance Card, which will give you medical care if you are in Ireland for a short time.


According to the latest data from the National Tobacco Control Office in the HSE, smoking prevalence in Ireland is at 19.5 percent. More than 5,200 people die in Ireland each year due to smoking. The government of Ireland has been spending an estimated 2 billion pounds annually to treat and deal with tobacco related diseases.

However, the Irish government has put stringent measures in place to reduce smoking prevalence in the country. For instance, the prices of tobacco have increased significantly in the recent past. The Irish government has also sponsored several programs to teach its citizens about the dangers of smoking and to encourage people to stop smoking.

Common Health Issues

Just like citizens of other countries, Irish people face a number of health challenges including obesity, high blood pressure, and other lifestyle diseases. However, doctors in Ireland have been encouraging citizens to take good care of themselves to reduce the prevalence of these health conditions. In addition, many school and businesses provide incentives to students and employees respectively to encourage them to lead healthier lifestyles and reduce the incidence of preventable diseases.

Mental Health

There are different types of counseling services in Ireland. Some deal with family matters while others help professionals to cope with various problems. Here is a list of some counseling services in Ireland.

Relate Northern Ireland
This counseling service provider focuses on helping individual, couples, and families enhance their emotional wellbeing.
Tel: 028 9032 3454
Email: office@relateni.org

Dublin Counseling and Therapy Center
This counseling service helps individuals suffering from family, societal, or personal stress.
Tel: 01 8788236
Fax: 01 8779069
E-mail: info@dctc.ie

Cork Counseling Center
Telephone: 021-427 4951
Email: info@thecounsellingcentre.ie

Access Counseling Clinic
Telephone – 01 5240708
email: info@accesscounselling.ie

Southwest Counseling Center
Tel: 064 6636416/ 064 6636100
Email: info@southwestcounselling.ie

Read more about this country

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.