Medical Care Abroad
Before you travel abroad, it is important
that you are prepared for any eventuality and have organised the necessary
insurance to pay for any medical care you may require on your trip. Remember that foreign
health systems may function very differently to the Irish one and in less
developed countries, medical care may be of a low standard, or hard to find. Take
note of the address and telephone number of the nearest Irish consulate or embassy to where you are travelling, as they will be able to arrange medical care for
you in an emergency.
If you have a pre-existing medical
condition that requires ongoing care, or if you are travelling to a country
that may require vaccinations, it is advisable to consult your GP or a travel
medicine clinic 4-6 weeks before you go.
If you are an Irish resident, there is no
need to arrange insurance if you are travelling to Britain or Northern Ireland,
but bring proof of identity, such as your passport or driving licence, that
indicates your Irish citizenship.
If you are travelling to another EU
country, to Switzerland or to the European Economic Area (EEA) countries of Iceland,
Norway or Liechtenstein, you should obtain a European Health Insurance Card
(previously, called an E111 form) before you go. This will entitle you to
receive public health care if you become ill or have an accident while visiting
one of these countries.
Under the scheme, depending on which country
you are in, you may have to pay part of the costs for services you receive. As
the European Health Insurance Card only entitles you to state-funded health
care in the country where you are staying, costs involved in transporting you
back to Ireland are not included.
You can download an application form for a
European Health Insurance Form from irishhealth.com's Downloadable Resources.
Completed forms should be sent to your
Local Health Office at least 1 month before you intend to travel. Each member
of a family or group travelling together requires their own card. A card is
valid for up to 2 years.
If you are travelling to other
destinations that are not covered by the European Health Insurance Card, it is
important to arrange private insurance in advance of making your trip. Falling
ill in certain destinations, such as the United States, can prove extremely
expensive if you are not covered by medical insurance.
Ireland has a reciprocal agreement on
medical treatment with Australia, whereby Irish visitors to Australia can
receive emergency medical treatment and assistance towards the cost of
prescribed medicines at the same cost that applies to Australian residents. You
will just need proof of identity that shows you are an Irish citizen.
It is also advisable to check whether you
need vaccinations for tropical diseases before travelling to certain
destinations. If you are travelling to Africa, South America or Asia, or to
other far-flung destinations, you should consult your doctor on what
vaccinations are advisable as early as possible. This is because some
vaccinations need to be administered a considerable time before travelling to
be fully effective. In some countries, certain vaccinations are compulsory and
you may be required to show an International Certificate of Vaccination before
you can gain access to the country.
Check what vaccines you may need on the
irishhealth.com Travel Vaccination Calculator.