The Irish Public Health System provides for two categories of eligibility for persons ordinarily resident in the country, i.e. full eligibility (medical cardholders) and limited eligibility (all others). Full eligibility is determined mainly by reference to income limits. Determination of an individual's eligibility status is the responsibility of the Health Service Executive. Persons with full eligibility are entitled to a range of services including general practitioner services, prescribed drugs and medicines, all in-patient public hospital services in public wards (including consultant services), all out-patient public hospital services (including consultant services), dental, ophthalmic and aural services and appliances and a maternity and infant care service. Other services such as allied health professional services may be available to medical card holders. These services are provided free of charge except for prescribed drugs and medicines, which are subject to a €2 charge per prescribed item (maximum of €20 month per month per individual/family).
In relation to blood tests, under the terms of the current GMS contract, GPs are required to provide eligible patients with “all proper and necessary treatment of a kind usually undertaken by a general practitioner and not requiring special skill or experience of a degree or kind which general practitioners cannot reasonably be expected to possess ”. There is no provision under the GMS contract for persons who hold a medical card or GP visit card to be charged for routine phlebotomy services provided by their GP which are required to either assist in the diagnosis of illness or the treatment of a condition.
As testing and treatment for Lyme borelliosis is widely available in all major hospitals in Ireland there is no need for people to travel to other EU Member States for diagnosis or treatment.