What to do in case of an emergency


In a medical emergency simply dial 999 or 112 and ask for an ‘Ambulance’, which will automatically be despatched to take you to the nearest hospital.

Each Health Board is responsible for ambulance services and some make a charge.

If you’re physically able, you should make your own way to the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department of your nearest hospital. When you move to a new area it’s wise to find out where your nearest A&E department is, as not every hospital is equipped to handle emergencies. If your condition isn’t serious enough to warrant a hospital visit, you should consult your family doctor. In towns and cities, there are ‘after-hours clinics’ where you can see a doctor concerning minor ailments when your doctor’s surgery is closed.

Short-term visitors to Ireland (i.e. those who aren’t ordinarily resident) from EU countries are entitled to free urgent medical treatment. Unless you’re a UK national, you need to produce form E111 (which you should obtain from your own health authority before travelling). Non-EU visitors are entitled to nothing free!

If you have a rare blood group or a medical problem which cannot easily be seen or recognised, e.g. a heart condition, diabetes, a severe allergy or epilepsy, you may be interested in the UK organisation, MedicAlert, which also covers Ireland. MedicAlert members wear an emblem on their wrists or around their necks that’s internationally recognised. On the back of your emblem is engraved your medical problem, membership number and a telephone number. When you’re unable to speak for yourself, doctors, police or anyone providing aid can immediately obtain vital medical information from anywhere in the world by phoning a 24-hour emergency number.

MedicAlert is a non-profit registered charity. Life membership is included in the cost of the bracelet or necklace plus an annual fee of £30. If you are renewing your membership, you will receive a £2.50 discount. It is also now easier to renew your membership by setting up a Direct Debit payment, and you will also receive the £2.50 discount. Please note that your first payment, which includes jewellery and first year's membership, must be paid by card or cheque.

For more information:

  • Visit the MedicAlert Foundation  website,
  • Call +44 (0)1908 951045, or
  • Email

Further reading

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