Your health in Cork

This is a link to a great list of useful information for anybody travelling in the SouthWest of Ireland:

Useful Info for Travelers

Before you travel to Ireland make sure you know how our Healthcare system works and make sure you know how your travel/health insurance works.   You will never be refused medical help, but at some point you will be asked questions about your Health Insurance Cover, so you should have those details included in your travel folder.



A brief overview of how healtcare works in the republic of Ireland.

In a nutshell, this is how the Health Care system works for Irish citizens/residents.


Most Irish citizens have access to a GP (General Practitioner).  Many GP’s now prefer that you make an appointment with them ahead of time, but of course will not refuse to see you in an emergency.

For anyone who does not have access to a GP in the Cork region there is a GP Co-operative company called SouthDoc (Phone 1850 335 999).

SOUTHDOC - General Practitioner co-operative.

SouthDoc provides an excellent service especially outside normal business hours, so you need never feel vulnerable.


When you phone SouthDoc an operator will take your details and then transfer you to a nurse.


You will then either be told that Doctor will call to you or in many cases you will be asked to present yourself at the Southdoc surgery.  There are currently two on the outskirts of Cork City .  ( Blackpool and Kinsale Road Roundabout)


A visit to Southdoc is expensive (currently €60) and this does not include any medicines.  However it is not much more expensive than a visit to a local GP where prices can vary from €40 to €50 per visit.


If you are a visitor/tourist to Ireland you will have to pay this money and then claim it back later.  You should ask about this at the time you attend the SouthDoc Clinic or  the GP’s Surgery, as there will be forms to complete.


Serious Incidents 

When an Irish Citizen/resident is involved in a serious accident in the Cork area they will generally (but not always) be taken to CUH ( Cork University Hospital) at Wilton , which is about 2-3 miles outside the City Centre.

Most Irish Citizens/residents will have health cover via a Medical Card (for certain groups, such as those on low incomes or those over the age of 70).   A large proportion of the working population have health cover with a private health insurance company such as VHI (Voluntary Health Insurance) or VIVAS or similar.


When you are brought to a hospital you should never be refused medical assistance but do be prepared to be asked about your medical health insurance.  


Serious Medical or other emergency.

If you have a serious emergency such as a car accident , medical or other emergency where no one in the vicinity can help you out you should phone the Emergency Services number 999 or 112 immediately and you will be connected with an operator.  You must then ask for Guards (Gardai), Ambulance or Fire Services.  They will take over from there.

There is a cost for calling the Fire Services or Ambulance but obviously this is only requested well and truly after the emergency has passed.  

The emergency services should only be contacted in the event of a serious incident.

If you are staying in Accommodation such as Hostel, B&B or Hotel, you should always ask your hosts to make contact with the appropriate service for you.

Serious Incident/Emergency outside of the main towns and cities.

If you have an emergency situation in a place that is remote, you must do all you can to get to the nearest town, village or house where you can ask someone to help you.

The locals will always know who to contact quickly for you, and you will find that Irish people will generally go ‘out of their way’ to help you and your companions out.  NEVER be afraid to ask for help.


Chemist / Pharmacy / Drug Store

In Ireland , prescription drugs can only be purchased in a ‘Chemist’ or a ‘Pharmacy’.  There is no difference between them, Chemist is simply the older name for it.

The term ‘Drug Store’ is not widely used in Ireland .

Every town in the country has at least one pharmacy. 

 Patrick's St Late Night Pharmacy, 9 Patricks Street Cork is open until 10pm every night except on  Bank Holidays. Phone (021) 4272511