If you do not have a medical card or GP Visit Card, you are considered a private patient if you visit your family doctor (GP). This means that you must pay for the services provided.
Some GPs provide services only to private patients. GPs who are in the General Medical Services (GMS) Scheme cannot treat private patients differently from medical card or GP Visit Card holders. You must be seen in the same premises and have access to the same surgery hours, etc.
There are no set fees or charges for GP services.
The relationship between a private patient and a GP is essentially a contract - you enter into a contract with your GP to provide you with services and you pay for the service. The amount of the payment is a matter for you and the GP.
Services which are free to private patients
GPs may provide cetain services to private patients free of charge - for example, maternity and infant welfare services and immunisation and vaccination services if they have agreements with the Health Service Executive (HSE) to do so.
In the case of some vaccination services, (for example, the flu vaccine for at-risk groups), the arrangement for private patients is that the actual vaccination is free of charge but you must pay for the GP's service.
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.