Medical Q&As

Healthcare in Ireland - moving from USA?

My family and I are considering a move to Ireland and have a couple of health care related questions. It is our understanding that the awareness of food allergies in Ireland far surpasses the awareness here in the U.S. Our 8 year old child has an allergy to peanuts and my wife and I wanted to find out if there are an adequate amount of qualified allergists (immunologists) who could treat and monitor our child. Are ambulances and hospitals sufficiently equipped with medicines and supplies necessary to treat an anaphylactic episode? We will not be in the Dublin area so I am concerned about the rural readiness for such episodes (although very rare). I in turn, am a diabetic who uses an insulin pump. My ongoing needs are regular doctor visits, insulin, insulin pump supplies and blood glucose testing equipment (meters & strips).

Health care in Ireland is organised quite differently when compared with the United States. In Ireland the GP (general practitioner) rather than paediatricians and specialists provide ongoing care to children and adults. Specialists are usually accessed through referral from the GP. There are only a handful of immunologists working in Dublin and I am not aware of the numbers in practice outside of the Dublin area. All general hospitals throughout the country would be adequately equipped to cope with acute anaphylaxis but I am not sure if every ambulance in every county would be. Many GPs would not have direct experience in caring for people with insulin pumps because this is relatively new technology. Therefore it would be desirable for you to have ready access to an endocrine unit specialising in the management of diabetes in order to be able to access specialised care when necessary. You might find it useful to make contact with the Diabetes Federation of Ireland for further information on that aspect of your query. The Federationís website is located at: http://www.diabetesireland.ie/. The various supplies you refer to such as insulin supplies and blood glucose testing equipment are widely available throughout the country.