Getting healthcare in Ireland

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Ukrainian - Як отримати медичну допомогу в Ірландії

Russian - Получение услуг здравоохранения в Ирландии

Find information about where to get help when you’re unwell and information on common health topics.

Videos on healthcare in Ireland

Keeping well in winter

Getting care if you’re unwell

What you need to do depends on how unwell you are:

A little unwell

If you’re a little unwell, you can usually treat yourself at home. For example, if you have a cold.

Ask a pharmacist for advice. They can tell what medicines you can get without a prescription.

Find a pharmacy

Read about common illnesses you can treat at home

Services available at community pharmacies

You can visit a pharmacy if you feel unwell or need help with your medicines. Pharmacists are qualified healthcare professionals.

They provide the following:

  • medicines you can buy without a prescription
  • medicines you have a prescription for
  • information on how to take your medicines correctly
  • advice on minor illnesses and when to see a GP (family doctor)

If you have a prescription from Ukraine and need your medicines urgently, the pharmacist may be able to give you a small supply. Bring your prescription, the medicine packet and your passport when you go to the pharmacy. You will need to see a GP (family doctor) to get a new prescription.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive test result, do not go to the pharmacy. Ask someone else to go for you.

You need medical help

If you’re unwell and need medical advice, see a GP (family doctor). You usually need to make an appointment.

Appointments are free if you have a medical card. The cost of an appointment is around €50 to €60 if you do not have a medical card.

GPs can treat general health problems.

Find a GP

GP services are usually open from 9am to 6pm on Monday to Friday. If you need urgent medical care outside of these hours, contact an out of hours service.

Find a GP out of hours service

At your GP appointment

Make some notes of things you want to discuss or remember to tell your GP. Take those notes with you on the day. Bring your medical card if you have one.

Your GP will ask you about your health, medical history and symptoms you have.

They may do the following:

  • give you advice about how to manage your symptoms at home
  • do some tests to find out more about your symptoms
  • talk to you about treatment options
  • give you a prescription for medicines
  • refer you to a doctor that specialises in the symptoms you have - if the GP cannot diagnose your illness or treat you

Ask your GP questions about your treatment or medicine if you need to.

If your GP thinks you need urgent treatment, they will send you to a hospital.

You need urgent medical help

In an emergency, you can do either of the following:

  • phone 999 or 112 and ask for an ambulance
  • go to your nearest emergency department or hospital

Find an emergency department (ED) near you

The emergency department in a hospital treats the following issues:

  • serious illness
  • serious injury
  • people at risk of dying

The emergency department will only treat you for these serious issues. Go to a GP or the GP out of hours service for all other treatments.

If you are not in immediate danger, do not go to the emergency department unless your GP tells you to and gives you a letter for the hospital staff. If you go to the emergency department and it is not an emergency, expect to wait a long time.

Minor injuries can be treated at an injury unit.

Find an injury unit

Read more about when to call 999 or 112

Keeping well in winter

There is a big increase in the usual respiratory viral infections in Ireland this winter.

Respiratory viral infections include:

Many people are getting sick with these viruses. Sometimes with more than one of these viruses. Outbreaks are more likely to happen among people in busy or crowded settings.

Children can get viral infections such as cold and flu quite often. Older people are also more vulnerable to infections.

This is having a big impact on our health service. There is overcrowding in hospital emergency departments (EDs) and long waiting times.

Stay at home if you are unwell

If you are unwell with fever, cough or sore throat, it is important to do the following:

  • stay at home until your symptoms are gone
  • wear a face mask if you have to be around other people
  • stay away from people who are vulnerable to infection

Protecting yourself and others from viral infections

To protect yourself and others:

  • cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze - use a tissue or your elbow
  • put used tissues into a bin
  • do not touch your mouth, nose and eyes
  • clean your hands properly and often - use soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser
  • clean and disinfect objects and surfaces regularly
  • wear a face mask in crowded areas
  • meet people outdoors if possible - there is more risk of infection in enclosed places

Vaccines offer protection against some viral infections. They are the safest way to protect you and your family from serious infections such as COVID-19 and flu.

Check if you can get a free flu vaccine and a free COVID-19 vaccine. You can get these vaccines at a GP, pharmacy or a HSE vaccination clinic.

Getting the flu vaccine

Routine childhood vaccinations protect against many bacterial and viral infections. Make sure your child’s vaccines or immunisations are up to date with the vaccines recommended for people living in Ireland. Get the children's flu vaccine when it is available each year.

Managing symptoms of viral infections

You can usually treat the symptoms of a respiratory viral infection at home. Ask your pharmacist for advice on medicines.

Managing common illnesses such as coughs, colds or sore throats

Most of the time you do not need to visit your GP. But trust how you feel. Make an appointment with your GP if you are worried about your symptoms.

Strep A (Group A streptococcus)

Strep A (Group A streptococcus) is a common bacteria (germ). It is sometimes found in the throat or on the skin. It usually causes mild illness like sore throats and skin infections.

Antibiotics are not usually needed if you have a sore throat or high temperature. But your GP may prescribe antibiotics if they think that you have strep A and other treatments have not worked.

In rare cases, Strep A bacteria can cause a severe and life threatening illness called invasive group A streptococcal disease (iGAS). When Strep A infection happens at the same time as a viral infection (co-infection), this may increase the risk of iGAS. Preventing viral infections such as flu and COVID-19 may reduce the risk of iGAS infection.

Strep A

Mental health support

The following mental health supports and services are available:

  • information and self-help resources
  • counselling
  • helplines
  • online support

Find mental health support and services

How to access mental health supports and services (YouTube)
Advice on minding your mental health (YouTube)

Talk to your GP if you are having difficulties with your mental health.

They can refer you to specialist mental health services.

Organisations that offer free mental health support


Aware provides free support, education and information for people with mental health issues as well as their family and friends.

Information on support groups for people from Ukraine - on


Childline offers a confidential 24-hour listening service for children and young people up to the age of 18.

Phone 1800 66 66 66 or 116 111

Text 50101 from 10am to 4pm every day

Chat online at


MyMind provides free counselling and psychotherapy for people affected by the war in Ukraine. The service is available in English and 17 other languages. You can access the service in person, online or by phone. 

Phone 0818 500 800


Text About It

Text About It is a free 24/7 text service. It provides everything from a calming chat to immediate support for people going through a mental health or emotional crisis – big or small.

Text HELLO to 50808, anytime day or night. 



Articles and information for young people about accessing the healthcare and social welfare systems in Ireland.

spunout resources for Ukrainians in Ireland

Getting contraception and sexual health services in Ireland

You can get advice and prescriptions for contraception from your GP or a family planning clinic. GP services are free if you have a medical card.

You can also get emergency contraception in a pharmacy without a prescription.

Read more about the types of contraception available in Ireland

Sexually transmitted infection (STI) and HIV testing

You can get STI testing and treatment for free in public STI clinics. Free home STI testing is also available.

Read more about STI types, testing and treatment

Read more about sexual health on the Sexual Wellbeing website

HIV treatment is free in Ireland when you use public health services.

Read more about HIV testing, prevention and treatment on the Sexual Wellbeing website

Read more about support for people living with HIV on the HIV Ireland website

Getting pregnancy care in Ireland

You can get pregnancy care for free in Ireland through the Maternity and Infant Care scheme. Your GP can help you register for the scheme.

Read more about the care covered by the scheme

Unplanned pregnancy support

If you need support for an unplanned pregnancy, MyOptions provides counselling and information. The service is free and confidential.

You can talk to a counsellor about all your options, including continued pregnancy supports and abortion services.

If you do not speak English, we can provide an interpreter. Call us on freephone 1800 828 010. You or someone on your behalf will need to tell us what language you speak and give us your phone number. An interpreter will call you back and help you speak to a MyOptions counsellor over the telephone.

Read more about MyOptions and unplanned pregnancy supports

Sexual assault treatment units (SATU)

A sexual assault treatment unit (SATU) is a safe, free and confidential place to go if you have been raped or sexually assaulted. We help anyone who has had unwanted sexual contact of any kind, by providing specialist medical assistance following sexual assault or rape. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, in 6  locations across Ireland.

Information in Ukrainian about confidential and free sexual assault response services in Ireland
Information in Russian about confidential and free sexual assault response services in Ireland

Getting dental care in Ireland

If you have a medical card, you can get some basic dental treatments for free. A dentist can tell you if the treatment you need is covered by the medical card. You can visit any dentist who accepts medical cards.

Many private dentists accept medical cards. You can ask them before you make an appointment. 

You may have to pay for some dental treatment.

Find a dentist on the Irish Dental Association website

Information in English

You can find more information in English on this website on the following topics: