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Medical services and entitlements for asylum seekers


The Local Health Office in the area where you are living will provide for your medical needs.

Your local Department of Social Protection's representative (formerly known as the Community Welfare Officer) can help you find a general practitioner (GP) and will provide you with a medical card application form, which you should complete and return to the Local Health Office as soon as possible. The medical card gives you and your family access to medical services free of charge. If you do not apply for and receive a medical card, you will be asked to pay for certain medical services. Services available free of charge under the Medical Card Scheme include:

Other health services available free of charge are maternity services, immunisation services and health screening. Your local Department's representative will advise you about getting access to these services in your resettlement area.

A Local Health Office may have waiting lists for these services and may have to give priority on the basis of medical need.

If you are pregnant or have small children, the Department's representative will make arrangements for you to contact the local Public Health Nurse. The nurse will visit you to see if you need any help and will put you in contact with your nearest health clinic.

Medical screening

A free medical screening service is available to all asylum seekers.

This service is completely confidential and independent of your application for a declaration of refugee status.

The service includes screening for certain infectious diseases such as TB, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV and checking the vaccination needs of you and your family. The outcome of any medical tests you undergo will not affect your application for a declaration of a refugee status in any way. There are a number of reasons why you are advised to avail of medical screening. The screening will identify and treat those who are ill and provide protection against infectious diseases through immunisation.

Any necessary follow-up medical treatment will be provided for you and your family free of charge under the medical card scheme.

It is in your interest to avail of this service and you can be assured that this service is provided to you and your family in complete confidence.

Where to apply

Contact the Department of Social Protection's representative at your local health centre.
Page edited: 1 March 2016



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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.