Health services during COVID-19

Introduction

COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways.

The Government has introduced restrictions to reduce the spread of coronavirus in Ireland.

In general, you should not leave your home, with limited exceptions. Read about what you can and cannot do in our document COVID-19: What you need to do. It includes additional information for people who:

  • Are over 70 or extremely medical vulnerable, who should be cocooning
  • Are in other at-risk groups, including over 60s and people with certain medical conditions
  • Have coronavirus or symptoms of coronavirus
  • Have been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus

Read more about public health measures for COVID-19.

Health advice

The Health Service Executive (HSE) provides health information on coronavirus, including:

  • The symptoms and causes
  • How to protect yourself and others
  • Groups at increased risk from coronavirus and what they should do

If you develop symptoms, you will need to self-isolate and phone a GP. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. The GP will assess you over the phone. If they think you need to be tested for coronavirus, they will arrange a test. Your test and GP assessment will be free of charge.

Testing for COVID-19

Read about testing for COVID-19, including:

  • Who can get a test
  • What to do when you are waiting to be tested
  • What happens when you are tested
  • How you get test results

Other healthcare measures

If you have a medical card or GP visit card that is due to expire during the COVID-19 public health emergency, it will be automatically extended for up to one year, subject to review when the emergency is over.

Prescriptions now have an extended validity of 9 months and can be renewed by pharmacists. Doctors can send prescriptions to pharmacies by email. See our document on prescribed drugs and medicines for more information.

There have been visiting restrictions and service disruptions in hospitals.

Private hospitals were used as part of the public healthcare response to the COVID-19 emergency for 3 months to June 2020. Private health insurance providers provided rebates to health insurance customers for this period.

For psychiatric patients, there have been temporary changes to the way that mental health tribunals work.

Further information

If you have a question about your situation during the COVID-19 emergency period, you can call the Citizens Information Phone Service (CIPS) on 0761 07 4000 or request a call back from the Citizens Information Service.

For people with hearing and speech difficulties and for others who have difficulty communicating by telephone, CIPS provides Live Advisor webchat.

Deaf Irish Sign Language users can get information about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) using the Irish Remote Interpreting Service (IRIS). The Irish Deaf Society have produced a series of ISL videos on COVID-19 and the supports available.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has further information on COVID-19, including information for health professionals.

Ireland's COVID-19 Data Hub shows the official statistics provided by the HPSC and the HSE.

The World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 Dashboard shows the number of confirmed cases by country. WHO global situation reports are also available.

Further information on the situation is also available through the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

You can access sources of updated information on COVID-19 in EU/EEA countries and the UK on the ec.europa.eu website.

Page edited: 30 June 2020