GP out-of-hours service


In Ireland, your local family doctor is called a GP (general practitioner). A GP is usually the first doctor that you will see about non-emergency illnesses and health issues.

Opening hours in Ireland for family doctors (GPs)

Most GPs work Monday to Friday but their opening hours can vary. A GP that works in an out-of-hours works during the night and on weekends.

If your medical issue is not urgent, you should make an appointment to see your usual GP during their clinic hours.

If your medical issue is urgent and you need to see a GP outside their clinic hours, you can contact your local GP out-of-hours service. This service does not provide routine clinic appointments.

How does the GP out-of-hours service work?

You must make an appointment to use the GP out-of-hours service. There is no drop-in facility.

The out-of-hours service is available at night and on weekends.

If you phone your GP outside normal working hours, you will usually get a recorded message with the contact details for your local GP out-of-hours service. The Health Service Executive (HSE) website also provides a list of phone numbers for the out-of-hours service.

When you ring the GP out-of-hours service, you will first speak to a nurse about your (or your child’s) symptoms. The nurse will clinically assess whether you need:

  • Nursing advice over the phone
  • An appointment with a GP
  • A house call
  • A referral to the Emergency Department (A & E)
  • Or an ambulance

If the nurse decides that you need to see the out-of-hours doctor (GP), they will give you an appointment.

How much does GP out-of-hours service cost?

Your appointment with the out-of-hours GP is free if you have a medical card or a GP visit card. You must bring your card with you otherwise you will be charged for the appointment.

If you do not have a medical card or GP visit card, you will be charged as a private patient. Contact your local GP out-of-hours service to find out how much you will have to pay for a consultation.

Contact your GP out-of-hours service

You can find contact details for your local service on the HSE list of GP out-of-hours services.

More information

If you or a family member are feeling unwell, you can find practical advice on how to mind yourself on The Health Service Executive also has a useful Health A-Z of medical conditions and treatments.

Page edited: 31 July 2023