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Medical Treatment, Drugs and Nappies

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Medical/GP Visit Only Card

Your child may be entitled to a standard or a “doctor only” medical card if your family income is below a certain level.

It is possible to get an individual medical card for your child if he/she has particular medical expenses but the exact basis on which this is decided is not clear. If your child does not qualify for a medical card or a “doctor only” medical card, he/she is nevertheless entitled to the following:

  • Free public hospital services; no in-patient or out-patient short-stay charges are levied if your child is suffering from one of the specific long-term conditions listed or if referred from child or school health clinics
  • Free prescribed drugs and medicines for specific long-term conditions (Long Term Illness Book)

Read the HSE's complete guide to Medical and GP visit cards or download an application form


Medical Cards

Medical card holders (and generally their spouse and dependent children) are entitled to free GP (family doctor) services; prescribed drugs and medicines (with some exceptions); in-patient public hospital services; out-patient services; dental, optical and aural services; medical appliances are free of charge.

You are free to choose a GP from a panel of participating doctors. The GP you select must generally have his/her practice within seven miles of where you live. The GP must agree to accept you as a patient.

A student in receipt of Disability Allowance will generally be entitled to a medical card.

If you qualify for a medical card, you will be given a list of doctors and a Doctor's Acceptance Form. You pick a doctor from the list and ask the doctor to sign the Acceptance Form, which is then returned to the HSE. Your medical card will show your doctor's name. The doctor you choose must generally have his or her practice within seven miles of where you live. The doctor must agree to accept you as a patient. It could happen that a doctor would be unwilling to take you on, for example, if he or she already has too many patients, but this is not normally a problem.

Medical card holders are exempt from paying the Health Contribution. They may also be exempt from paying the school transport charges.

GP Visit Card

  • GP visit cardholders are entitled to visit their GP free of charge. However they must pay for any medicines, public hospital visits.
  • Applications are subject to means testing (income levels can be 50% higher than that for a medical card).
  • However hardship or exceptional circumstances will also be considered on an individual basis.


Long Term Illness Scheme

People with Down Syndrome, who are not already medical card holders, may obtain without charge the drugs, medicines and medical and surgical appliances for the treatment of that condition. These free drugs, medicines and appliances are provided under the Long Term Illness Scheme. This scheme is administered by the Health Service Executive (HSE), under Section 59 of the Health Act, 1970.

Remember, the Long Term Illness Scheme does not depend on your income or other circumstances and is separate from the Medical Card Scheme and the GP Visit Card Scheme.

Further information can be found from citizens information

You cannot apply onine or download a form. You must visit your GP or local health office of the HSE

Dental,Optical and Aural Services

The HSE provides hearing aids as well as dental and optical services free of charge to Medical Card Holders. There are also entitlements for children.

Check the service and rules by clicking here

Check with your local health centre for approved service providers.

Nappies Allowance:

Nappies are available for Children over 3 years of age. The allowance is typically 3-4 nappies per day. The nappies are typically delivered to your home in bulk.

You cannot apply on-line or download a form. To apply contact your local public health nurse.



Read 6913 times Last modified on Friday, 28 September 2012 12:40
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