Irish home health care offers a range of services to support people in their homes. Some of these include maternity care, free GP visits and vaccinations.
As an ageing population, the demand for care increases significantly. This will be a challenge for the healthcare system. Ireland must ensure that services are available when they are needed, where they are needed and that they are affordable.
If you have given birth to a baby in Ireland, you can receive home health care. This is a service provided by trained nurses that allows you to continue certain IV treatments and therapies in the comfort of your own home.
In Ireland, all pregnant women are entitled to free maternity care, including hospital stays, GP visits and pregnancy tests, but you will need to pay for certain emergency GP visits and other medical services outside of this package. If you need to see a specialist, your GP will usually refer you.
The current maternity model in Ireland, with an obstetric consultant-led, midwife-managed service, has not kept up with the trends evident in other high income countries where choice in models of maternity care is more widely available to women. This lack of choice is particularly true in terms of location and model of care. It is a major issue in terms of equity of choice and control for women accessing maternity care in Ireland, but a comprehensive strategy to address this need will require significant investment.
Free GP visits
Public healthcare in Ireland is funded by general taxation and is available to all legal residents. It includes free GP visits, subsidised prescription drugs, maternity care and emergency services such as ER and outpatient hospital care.
A medical card is required in order to access these services. It is issued to those who are entitled to free healthcare based on their age, income or illness.
Those who are not entitled to free healthcare will pay a flat fee of EUR100 for out-of-hours GP visits. The charges vary across the country, but should be confirmed with the GP prior to visiting them.
New research from the ESRI suggests that extending free GP care to all would cost between EUR381m and EUR881m in 2026. It found that a system based on age would be the most cost-effective option. However, the extra GP visits would require more doctors and delay patients in getting treated.
If you’re eligible, irish home health care can provide free vaccinations to children and adults. Vaccines are a good way to protect your family against serious disease and you should get them as soon as possible.
There are a few different types of vaccines available to you. Find out what you need and where to get it by checking the HSE website.
You may also be able to receive your COVID-19 booster at your local walk-in clinic. This is a great way to save money and avoid the hassle of travelling for a vaccination appointment.
You can also ask your GP or a nurse for an estimate of the cost of the vaccination or booster. Alternatively, you can call the HSE’s COVID-19 helpline for information on which vaccines are most suitable for your needs. They can also point you in the direction of a nearby walk-in clinic or vaccination centre.
Free cervical screening test
Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Screening tests can find these changes early, before they become cancerous.
If you are aged 25 to 65, have a cervix and have ever had sexual contact (including non-penetrative sex), you should have a screening test every 5 years. This test checks for infection with HPV types known to increase the risk of cervical cancer.
In March 2020, irish home health care is offering a free cervical screening test. This new type of screening test will check for infection with HPV, which is the main cause of cervical cancer.
Despite these benefits, women reported a loss of trust in the screening service following controversy surrounding CervicalCheck – Ireland’s national cervical screening programme. Our findings suggest that interventions to rebuild trust might target both the health and emotional benefits of screening.