When Lief and I decided to relocate from the United States to Ireland nearly two decades ago, we were early...Read more
In many island nations, good medical care is hard to find. Some countries only offer clinics and hospitals in the largest cities and then you can only get basic care at these facilities. For specialized surgeries or more complicated medical issues, you may need to travel long distances, or even out of the country to receive quality treatment.
Not so in Ireland.
Ireland’s healthcare system is ranked ninth in Europe by the Economic and Social Research Institute, and nineteenth in the world according to the World Health Organization. Also, you don’t have to be an Irish citizen to qualify for medical care here. All permanent residents are entitled to healthcare and many out-of-pocket medical expenses, such as doctor visits are subsidized by the Irish government.
Throughout Ireland, doctors and specialists are trained to a high medical standard. You can get basic annual exams done throughout the country, however, you’ll need to travel to the larger towns and cities such as Dublin, Belfast, and Cork for major surgery or treatment of more serious diseases and conditions.
The Public Healthcare System
No country has a perfect system and while the standard of care in Ireland’s public health system is high, the waiting lists can be long. For a serious issue, you should consider using the private healthcare system which usually means faster service but at higher prices.
The Private Healthcare System
Just like most of Western Europe, Ireland’s general cost of medical services is high. A consultation with your family doctor or general practitioner will cost an average of 50 euros, you can expect to pay 100 euros for a visit to the emergency room, and an overnight hospital stay can set you back as much as 1,000 euros. If you take the time to develop a relationship with a general practitioner in Ireland, you may find that you pay less for repeat visits.
Ireland’s Medical Assistance Programs
Ireland also offers special programs to help cover certain medical expenses. A few examples include a drug payment program that caps the price you pay for prescriptions, a long-term illness plan that covers the costs related to chronic problems and treatments such as cancer, and a Maternity and Infant Care program that helps subsidize the medical costs families incur when they start a family and raise their children.
Overall, Ireland’s healthcare services are accessible to everyone at reasonable European rates. You can expect a high cost of healthcare in Ireland, but the quality of care you’ll receive is top-notch. Depending on your personal situation, the cost and quality of local healthcare may be important factors when deciding among the best places to live.