What is an
emergency medical card and how do I apply for one?
medical card is a medical card that you can get without a means test
in certain emergency situations.
You can get an emergency medical card if you:
- Have a terminal illness and have
been told you have 24 months or less to live
- Are getting end-of-life treatment
- Need urgent ongoing care and
urgently need a medical card
Only a healthcare professional (for example, a
doctor or consultant) can apply for an emergency medical card for you. They
will send the application to the HSE.
If your application is approved, it can take up
to 10 days to get your medical card in the post. However, your card will be
active within 24 hours of your application being processed. Your GP, pharmacy and hospital staff will see
your card is active on their systems. This means you can access medical card
services while you wait for your card in the post.
If you get a medical card because you have a
terminal illness and have been told you have 24 months or less to live, the HSE
will never review your card and your card will never expire.
If you get a medical card because you are
receiving end-of-life treatment, the HSE will never review your card and your
card will never expire. End-of-life treatment means you have been told you have
less than 12 months left to live.
If you get a medical card because you need
urgent ongoing care and urgently need a medical card, your card will expire
after 6 months. You will need to complete a means assessment before your
emergency medical card expires. The HSE will write to you to remind you to do
You can get more information from the National
Medical Card Unit on (051) 595 129, or lo-call 1890 252 919 or you can contact
your local Citizens Information Centre.
You can read more about emergency medical cards on citizensinformation.ie
During COVID-19, you can find comprehensive integrated information
online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get
daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo.
You can also get information and advice
Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am –
national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone
call from an information officer
You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using
the details in the Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.