Patient Entitlements & Supports

Citizens Information provides a general overview of patient entitlements and access  to services available from the HSE.


Medical Card

The Medical Card Scheme entitles certain people  to free public health services.

The HSE has a system in place for the provision of emergency medical cards for patients who are terminally ill in palliative care or who are seriously ill and in urgent need of medical care that they cannot afford. They are issued within twenty-four hours of receipt of the required patient details and the letter of confirmation of the condition from a doctor or a medical consultant. For persons with a terminal illness in palliative care, no means test applies. Once the terminal illness is verified by a GP or Consultant, patients are given an emergency medical card for a period of 18 months.

Fill in the medical card application form with

  • Name, address and PPS number AND
  • Attach letter from GP/Consultant certifying that patient is terminally ill
  • Take to/fax to/telephone Local Health Office


Patients who have a terminal illness with a limited prognosis can receive an Emergency Medical Card.  The application can only be made by a healthcare professional. 

There is no means testing for medical cards granted on this ground.  They will not be reviewed and will not expire.

For further information on this process, visit the HSE website here

Other Schemes and Benefits

  • The GP Visit Card is available to certain people who are not eligible for medical cards
  • The Long Term Illness Scheme facilitates access to drugs and medical appliances which are necessary for the treatment and management of nominated conditions.
  • The National Treatment Purchase Fund minimizes public patient waiting lists by purchasing procedures from private hospitals.
  • The Drug Payment Scheme sets a maximum monthly amount that individuals or families have to pay for all prescribed drugs, medicines or appliances that they use.


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