GP (General Practitioner) Services

General Practitioners (GPs) treat all common medical conditions and refer patients to hospitals and other medical services for urgent and specialist treatment. They have a key role in HSE Primary Care, along with other Primary Care disciplines, in providing Preventative services, Early Intervention and Diagnosis in the community setting.

Free GP care is available to all children up to 6 years of age, including growth monitoring at 2 & 5 years as part of the GP-Under 6 contract. Free GP care also covers care for children with asthma, including assessment of the condition and review of medication.

GPs deliver the Primary Immunisation Programme for children up to 13 months.

Along with the maternity hospital service, GPs provide antenatal and post natal care (including two checks for the baby at 2 and 6 weeks) as part of the Maternity & Infant Scheme.

People who are eligible for medical cards are entitled to free GP services (including out-of-hours GP services); prescribed medication (except where some charges apply in some cases); in-patient & out-patient public hospital services; dental, optical and aural services. People who are eligible for GP Visit cards do not have to pay for GP visits (including out-of-hours GP visits)  but do have to pay for medication and other services.

Target Group: General public


  • All children under 6 years are eligible for free GP care, and receive a GP Visit card.
  • Eligibility for Medical Card is generally based on a means test. Also can qualify if a person:
    • is in foster care
    • is a child diagnosed with cancer within the last 5 years
    • lives in Direct Provision
    • has been affected by the drug, Thalidomide.
  • Eligibility for GP Visit card is also generally based on a means test, although incomes threshold is higher than for Medical Card.

How to access:

  • For free GP care for all children under 6 years, parents can go online on and register to receive a GP Visit Card for their child.
  • Access to Primary Immunisation Programmes Access is via automatic notification to the mother from the HSE when notification of birth is received.
  • Access to the GP Maternity & Infant Scheme service is via completion and submission of an application form to the local health centre.
  • Online application for Medical Card or GP Visit card at