Healthcare for UK nationals visiting Ireland

How to get state healthcare when you’re on holiday or travelling to Ireland.

If you’re ordinarily resident in the UK, you can get necessary medical care from state healthcare services in Ireland.

You can use a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or show proof of your UK residency to get state healthcare until the end of 2020.

If you’re visiting Ireland on 31 December 2020, you can continue to use your EHIC or show proof of your UK residency to get state healthcare until the end of your visit to Ireland.

Make sure you have travel insurance for your visit.

How to get healthcare

Show proof that you’re ordinarily resident in the UK when you visit an Irish state doctor or hospital such as:

  • a valid driving licence
  • proof of residence
  • documentation that shows your NHS Number
  • an EHIC
  • a UK passport

You’ll need to pay in full for treatment if you do not have a valid EHIC or proof of residency.

What you’re entitled to

If you’re ordinarily resident in the UK, you can access medically necessary state health services on the same basis as an Irish resident. You may still need to pay a fee for some services, just like an Irish resident.

Some emergency services are free, such as GP visits or emergency dental treatment. You’ll still have to pay for some things. For example, you’ll be charged a fee of 100 euros for a visit to A&E without a doctor’s referral.

You’ll need to pay in full for private healthcare.

Getting state healthcare in Ireland from 1 January 2021

You’ll still be able to access healthcare using a UK-issued EHIC for visits to Ireland that begin from 1 January 2021 if you’re either:

  • a UK State Pensioner living in the EU before the end of 2020
  • a UK student studying in the EU before the end of 2020 until your course finishes
  • a ‘frontier worker’ (someone who works in one state and lives in another) before the end of 2020, for as long as you continue to be a frontier worker in the host state
  • an EU national living in the UK before the end of 2020

Travelling with a health condition

Buy travel insurance with healthcare cover for your condition.

Read the Money and Pensions Advice Service guidance for buying travel insurance for people with pre-existing medical conditions.

If your condition means that you’ll need treatment while you’re in Ireland, you may need to pre-arrange it. For example, if you need dialysis or oxygen treatment. Speak to your doctor in the UK for advice before you travel.

Getting prescriptions

You can use a UK prescription to get medicines from pharmacies in Ireland.

You will have to pay in full for any prescription medicine.

Bringing medicine with you

You need a letter to prove your medicine is prescribed to you if it contains a ‘controlled drug’. You may need to show this at the border when you’re entering or leaving the UK.

You may also need a licence for controlled drugs if:

  • your trip is longer than 3 months
  • you’re travelling with more than 3 months’ supply

Read more about travelling with controlled medicines.

Travelling to have planned treatment

If you want to have non-urgent planned treatment in Ireland, you can apply for NHS funding. For example, if you’re going abroad to give birth.

There are 2 ways to do this:

  • S2 route
  • EU directive route

Read the NHS guide to seeking medical treatment abroad for more information on these funding routes.

Published 31 January 2020
Last updated 13 March 2020 + show all updates
  1. Link to the latest coronavirus (COVID-19) travel advice added.

  2. First published.