Medical

Who is responsible for meeting the medical needs of asylum seekers in RIA accommodation?

Access to health services in Ireland for asylum seekers is provided on the same basis as for Irish citizens i.e. it is 'mainstreamed'.

Asylum seekers have access to the Public Health Nursing System as well as a dedicated asylum seeker psychological service operating out of St. Brendan's Hospital.

As with any person residing in Ireland, a RIA resident who is pregnant should advise their General Practitioner and the local Public Health Nurse (PHN) accordingly.

RIA residents with small children can seek the assistance of the Public Health Nurse (PHN) at their local health centre who will give them help and advice during the early years of their child's development.

Are asylum seekers in RIA accommodationentitled to Medical Cards?

Asylum seekers in direct provision will generally qualify for a medical card which entitles them to receive a wide range of health services free of charge, including GP services.

An application form for a Medical Card should be available at the local Health Centre for their area. The Community Welfare Officer (CWO) or the local Citizens Information Centre will also be able to provide information as to where they can get this form. Under the Medical Card Scheme, a RIA resident may have a choice of General Practitioner (G.P.) or may be allocated one depending on local circumstances. The local CWO can advise on the arrangements for a General Practitioner.

It should be noted that entitlement to a Medical Card is not automatic. It is means based i.e. their assets and income (from all sources) is taken into account. If they are not entitled to a Medical Card they can continue to access general hospital services.

Is medical screening available to asylum seekers in RIA accommodation?

Health Screening is made available in our Reception Centre to all asylum seekers on a voluntary and strictly confidential basis. Screening covers Hepatitis, TB, HIV, immunisation status and any other ailments or conditions that the medical officers feel require further investigation and/or treatment. Screening staff also check the vaccination needs of the resident and their family. Arrangements are in place in various parts of the country to offer this service to those who did not avail of it in Dublin. The outcome of any medical tests undergone by an asylum seeker will not affect their application for a declaration as a refugee in any way.

Residents are advised to avail of medical screening as it will identify and treat those who are ill and it will provide protection against infectious diseases through immunisation. Any necessary follow-up medical treatment will be provided for residents and their families free of charge under the medical card scheme.

It is in a resident's interest to avail of this service which will be provided to them and their family in complete confidence.

Details of how a resident can access this service are available at our reception centre and accommodation centres throughout the country.