There are no hospital charges for public inpatient care or day service care. The removal of these charges was announced as part of Budget 2023 and came into effect on 17 April 2023. Inpatient and day service charges still apply for inpatient and day service care up until and including 16 April 2023.
You may be liable for hospital charges if you attend an emergency department (A+E) of a public hospital. Medical card holders and certain other groups do not have to pay hospital charges.
Outpatient and Emergency Department (A+E) Charges
If you attend the outpatients department or emergency department (A+E) of a public hospital without being referred by your GP or family doctor, you may be charged a standard fee. There is no charge if you are referred by your GP. You must show the referral letter from your GP when you attend the outpatients department or emergency department (A+E).
Since January 1 2009, this charge is €100.
This charge is not applicable if you are in one of the following groups:
- Medical card holders
- People admitted to hospital after attending the emergency department
- People receiving treatment for prescribed infectious diseases - including coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Children, in respect of the following diseases and disabilities: “mental handicap, mental illness, phenylketonuria, cystic fibrosis, spina bifida, hydrocephalus, haemophilia and cerebral palsy”
- People who are entitled to hospital services because of EU Regulations
Note that in select cases where people have difficulty paying, the HSE may provide the service free of charge. You should also note that return visits in relation to each episode of care will not be subject to any additional charge.
If you are referred by your GP to outpatients for specialist assessment by a Consultant or his or her team for diagnostic assessments such as x-rays, laboratory tests or physiotherapy, there is no charge if you attend as a public patient.
If you wish to attend a consultant as a private patient, you will be required to pay the appropriate private fee.
Health Regulations came into effect on 14 July 2005 (most recently amended in 2011). These required that charges be imposed on long-stay or extended care patients in HSE public care (not including certain exempted persons such as patients in acute hospitals who require acute care and treatment), up to a maximum of €179 per week.
The Regulations provide for different charging arrangements, depending on the level of care being provided:
Class 1: those receiving inpatient services in premises where nursing care is provided on a 24 hour basis. Maximum weekly charge for the maintenance element of care is €179 (for those whose weekly income is calculated at €223 or higher), reducing progressively in line with assessed weekly income.
Class 2: those receiving inpatient services in premises where nursing care is not provided on a 24 hour basis. Maximum weekly charge is €134 (for those whose weekly income is calculated at €209 or higher), reducing progressively in line with the person's assessed weekly income.
Income-related schedules of Class 1 and Class 2 charges are set out in the Health (Charges for In-Patient Services) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 and are designed to ensure that every Class 1 patient retains a minimum of between €33 and €37.99 of their weekly income for personal use. Every Class 2 patient will retain a minimum of between €64 and €68.99.
In certain circumstances the Health Service Executive has the discretion to alter charges in order to avoid hardship.
Private patients in public or voluntary hospitals
Patients who opt for private inpatient (including day-care) services in public hospitals are liable for a range of private accommodation charges (see table here under).
|Hospital Category||Single Occupancy Room||Multi Occupancy Room||Day Case|
|Hospital specified in the 5th schedule||€1000||€813||€407|
|Hospital specified in the 6th schedule||€800||€659||€329|
As a private patient, you must also pay for the consultant’s services which may include the services of radiation oncologists, anaesthetists, etc.
The hospitals operate a direct payments scheme with Vhi Healthcare, Laya Healthcare, Irish Life Healthcare, St. Paul's Garda Medical Aid Society and Prison Officers' Medical Aid Society (POMAS).
All insurance forms must be completed on or during admission.
We recommend that patients check with their insurance company before admission to the hospital to ensure they are adequately covered for their treatment.
Road Traffic Accident (RTA) charges imposed under the Health (Amendment) Act, 1986
Patients receiving hospital care following a road traffic accident (RTA) must pay additional charges for their hospital care.
Currently, where a patient becomes subject to RTA charges in circumstances when he/she has previously paid private inpatient charges, the RTA charges levied shall be reduced by the amount of the private inpatient charges already paid in the following circumstances:
(i) private inpatient charges and RTA charges have been levied on a patient, and
(ii) the private inpatient charges and RTA charges relate to the same period of hospitalisation.
By way of illustration, if private inpatient charges in the amount of €2,000 have been paid and RTA charges in the amount of €5,000 have been levied (both in respect of the same period of hospitalisation), the amount of the RTA charges should be €3,000:
(i) €2,000 in respect of private inpatient charges paid; and
(ii) €3,000 in respect of RTA charges.
The total amount of the combined charges, therefore, is €5,000.