GPs and private patients

Introduction

This document outlines the services GPs (general practitioners) offer in Ireland, how to find a GP and how much it costs to visit a GP in Ireland. It also covers visiting a GP out of hours and how to make a complaint about a GP.

In Ireland, family doctors are called GPs. A GP is usually the first doctor that people see about non-emergency illnesses and health issues.

Some GPs provide services only to private patients. You usually have to pay to see a GP as a private patient and fees can vary.

You can see a GP free of charge if you are entitled to a medical card or a GP visit card.

If you need to see a GP in the evening or at the weekend you can you can contact your local GP Out of Hours service.

What services are provided by GPs in Ireland?

GPs provide a broad service on all health issues, and may refer you to see a specialist or hospital consultant if your condition needs further investigation. You cannot see a consultant for the first time without a referral from a GP.

As well as health consultations, GPs also provide prescriptions for medicine, and offer immunisation and vaccination services. GPs may also provide maternity care and family planning services. The range of services on offer can vary between GPs. Contact the GP before your visit to make sure they have the service you need.

GPs may also now provide abortion services in Ireland. You can find information on abortion services in Ireland on myoptions.ie.

How do I find a GP in Ireland?

You can find out which GPs are available in your local area using the HSE’s Health Atlas. Sometimes GP practices have a full list of patients and cannot take on new patients. In this case, you should go to another GP practice in your area. You can transfer to the GP of your first choice at a later date if they start taking on new patients again.

You do not need a PPS number or other documentation to visit a GP.

How much does it cost to visit the GP?

GPs are usually part of the private healthcare system and so you will usually need to pay charges when you see one. However, adults over 70 and children under 6 are entitled to a GP visit card, which allows them to visit a GP free of charge.

There are no set fees or charges for GP services. To visit a GP you can expect to pay from around 45 euro up to 65 euro (in some urban areas). Contact your GP before your first visit to find out about charges.

GPs may provide certain services to private patients free of charge. For example, they might provide maternity and infant care services, and immunisation and vaccination services, if they have agreements with the HSE.

In the case of some vaccination services (for example, the flu vaccine for at-risk groups), the arrangement for private patients is that the vaccine is free of charge but you must pay for the GP’s service.

How do I make a complaint about a GP service?

The Medical Council protects the interests of the public with regard to registered medical practitioners and handles complaints relating to a medical doctor's fitness to practise medicine.

Page edited: 27 June 2019