Medical Care

Living in Europe | Medical care | Ireland

Public health care for people coming to Ireland

If you are a national of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, or if you are normally resident in Ireland, you are entitled to receive the same level of health care as Irish citizens. Depending on your income, you may be eligible for a medical card, which entitles you to the full range of medical services at no cost.

If you are not from an EEA member state or Switzerland, you will be entitled to certain services free of charge and you will have to pay for the remainder.

If you are coming to live, work, study or retire in Ireland you can find out more information on eligibility for public health services. If you are coming to Ireland on holiday or on a short stay (for example, on business), you can read more information on health services for visitors to Ireland.


The Irish healthcare system is divided into public and private services. Both services are provided by GPs and the Health Service Executive (HSE) is responsible for providing public and community health services. There are three types of hospitals: HSE hospitals, voluntary hospitals and private hospitals. For a more comprehensive guide to the Irish Health Service click here


GP services  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 and intend to continue to stay here for at least a 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)

Entitlement to hospital care


The Disability Act 2005 allows for an assessment of the needs of a person with disabilities. For more information on health services for people with disabilities go to ‘Health Information’ on



Where can I get more information?

Contact the HSE infoline from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday.

Callsave: 1850 24 1850



The Migrant Disability Network Ireland (MDNI) aims to provide expert and compassionate support to children from migrant/minority backgrounds who are living with physical/intellectual disabilities. Website: