Information for our UCD Global students from the UCD Student Health Service
UCD Student Health working with the Global team have put together some information that may be helpful to our students when it comes to understanding Irish medical terminology, medications, services that are available in our health care system and UCD Student Health Service operations and services.
Question: What is a GP?
Answer: A GP is a General Practitioner or a Medical Doctor in everyday language. They are also referred to as family practitioners in some countries and they provide what is called primary medical care in Ireland.
A General Practitioner (GP) provides the first point of care for patients.
In UCD the student health service has 5 part- time general practitioners along with practice nurses and administration support. It is a very busy service and whilst we endeavour to see any sick student the same day if possible, there can sometimes be several weeks delay for routine appointments.
There are also GP practices throughout Dublin including in the environs of UCD.
Question: Tell me about the UCD Student Health Service?
The Student Health Service is an on - campus GP medical practice that provides medical care and support for our students. We are here to assess and manage acute infections, physical illness, mental health issues, sexual health, contraception and travel health, addictions, transition related medical care along with mandatory health screening and vaccination of healthcare students. We actively promote good health.
We have access to blood and urine tests along with radiological investigations. We can prescribe medication which is dispensed at local pharmacies. We refer students to our counselling service colleagues and to our part-time in- house psychiatrist where appropriate when managing mental health issues.
We provide birth control services, PAP smears, STI testing and a routine gynaecological service also. We actively promote good health amongst our student population.
We arrange referral to the hospital services when the student presents with complex, serious, or urgent medical issues that require further investigation and treatment. This may be either to our local hospital accident and emergency departments or to hospital consultant out- patient services. These services are provided in both public and private hospitals.
Question : Can you explain to me about confidentiality and information that I may give to the Student Health Service?
Answer: We take patient confidentiality very seriously.
We want to ensure we have a relationship with our students whereby they can trust us to give us all relevant information pertaining to their condition or issue.
Information is stored in a GDPR compliant and medically acceptable way.
When patients are referred to hospital consultant services their information is sent through secured channels.
Referral for counselling or psychiatry in house is done with the patient's consent and respect for confidentiality.
We do not release patient information to anyone without the students consent. This includes other departments within UCD and to family members without your permission.
If a parent contacts the service looking for information relating to their child, we cannot release this information without the specific consent of our patient. We may sympathise with the parents' concern for their child's wellbeing, but confidentiality is our priority.
The only exception to this is where there is threat to life.
Question : How long will it take to get an appointment in UCD Student Health Service?
Answer: We endeavour to see students in as timely a way as possible.
The Student Health Service is a very busy service particularly in term time and prior to the examination period. Sick and unwell students are always given priority. Students who need urgent prescriptions for medically critical conditions such as asthma or diabetes are facilitated.
Students are asked to make routine appointments well in advance for matters such as contraception, check-ups, renewal of ongoing non urgent prescriptions and vaccinations.
At busy times, the waiting list for routine appointments may be 2-3 weeks.
In the event that we do not have appointments available we will direct students to alternative GP services in the community.
Question : What tests and procedures are done in the UCD Student Health Service and what needs to be referred externally?
Answer: An initial assessment will be carried out by a member of our medical team.
- Routine blood samples
- Urine samples and swabs
- STI screening
- Cervical smears (pap)
Are taken in house and are sent away for analysis.
- X rays and other radiological tests are done externally, and the doctor will make a referral for you as appropriate
If you become suddenly unwell and in need of hospital treatment you will be referred with an appropriate level of urgency to the Emergency Department or Urgent Care centre closest to you.
Question: What does it cost to see a doctor in UCD Student Health Service?
Answer: UCD Student Health Service is a fee charging service. The current charge for a doctor consultation is €30. Please see link for charges in the Student Health Service.
Question : I have private insurance:- can I use this when I attend the doctor in UCD Student Health Service ?
Answer: You will need to pay for your care on the day you visit the doctor in UCD. You will be able to access a receipt from your UCD Sis web account. It is up to you to check your insurance cover and submit a claim for any allowed charges incurred.
Link to sis web : https://www.ucd.ie/t4cms/sis_procedure.pdf
Question : Can I attend a GP outside of the UCD Student Health Service ?
Answer: Yes. There are also a significant number of general practitioners within the environs of UCD campus. Most students will be charged for general practice visits; this fee is payable on the day. If your medical insurance covers these costs, you can ask for a receipt and reclaim the fee from your insurance company. Please see their individual GP practice websites for more details of their services and charges.
Some students will be able to avail of the medical card scheme or use a European health card E 111 to avail of free general practice services with a community GP.
Question: Where can I access a doctor that accepts my EHIC ?
Answer: Students from EU member states and Switzerland are entitled to emergency services under the PUBLIC system if they have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with them. You should apply for your EHIC before leaving home Please note that the EHIC only covers attendance at public facilities and general practitioners who are part of the scheme, and it does not cover private care.
The Student Health Service is not part of this scheme and cannot facilitate medical cards or EHIC cards at this time.
You will be able to get a list of GPs in your preferred location from the link below who are part of the GMS medical card scheme and can provide a EHIC service.
We recommend you check on the GPs individual website or by calling their service when making your appointment to ensure that they can accept your EHIC card and to check what services are provided and associated charges.
HSE Services List
Question: Can you direct me to some relevant information that I need know about Covid 19 as an international student
Answer: We would recommend that all students are fully vaccinated for Covid 19 before coming on to the UCD campus.
Here are some very useful links to Covid 19 information on Global website and the HSE
Also please keep in touch with the UCD Student Health social media for relevant Covid information updates
Explain to me about Referrals to a Specialist or a hospital referral?
Question : What is a specialist or a consultant ?
Answer: A specialist is a hospital-based doctor who offers specialised assessment and treatment for more complex types of medical problems. They are also referred to as Hospital Consultants.
As GPs, we provide an initial medical assessment and if necessary, refer patients to the hospital services for further assessment, investigation, and management.
Question : What is the difference between a psychiatrist and a counsellor?
Answer: Students often ask what is the difference between a psychiatrist and a counsellor?
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor trained in the specialty of psychiatry.
In addition, to assessing and diagnosing the patient they can offer counselling therapy and can also prescribe medications.
A psychologist or counsellor has different qualifications.
They assess the patient and engage in a range of talking therapies either in an individual or group situation over several sessions.
It is quite common for the psychiatrist, the GP and the counselling service all to be involved in supporting the student when attending the student health service.
Question: What is the difference between a Public and a Private hospital in Ireland
Answer : A public hospital is run by Health Service Executive (HSE) for the government. Everyone is entitled to go to a public hospital. There may be some charges depending on your circumstances e.g. your immigration permission / visa stamp or when attending the emergency department without seeing a GP first. Patients are seen as in- patients or outpatients. The services are overseen by a consultant and patients may see the consultant or a member of their team when attending the hospital.
There can often be long waiting lists for assessment and treatment in the public hospitals
A private hospital is fee based and we would recommend that you check your insurance to check that you are insured for charges before attending. The medical staff are consultants only and any assessments or treatments will be carried out by the consultant themselves. Waiting times to be seen are generally shorter in the private hospitals.
Question: How do I organise continuation of my specialist care when I come to Ireland?
Answer: If you are attending a specialist in your home country it is important that you have a consultation with your specialist prior to travel. The pros and cons of living in a foreign country with your condition need to be discussed with your doctor who knows you and your medical issues. You need to ensure that your treatment is available in Ireland and if not, consideration should be given to an alternative treatment that is available in Ireland. Alternatively, you may decide to bring your treatment with you.
Your specialist should provide a written summary of your diagnosis and treatment plan.
In some circumstances, they may also need to contact a specialist in Ireland directly to ensure your treatment is available and can be arranged without interruption.
We understand that it may be difficult for you to get a referral from your own doctor.
In this case, we suggest that the student makes an initial appointment with a doctor in the UCD Student Health Service as soon as they arrive in Ireland. Please bring any relevant information you can along with a list of all medications to the consultation and the UCD doctor will help to organise a referral to a suitable specialist. Please note that there may be a time delay of weeks or sometimes months before the specialist appointment can take place, so the student needs to ensure that they have enough medication with them to allow for this. This is particularly important if your medical condition could deteriorate if your medication is stopped for any reason
You should always check in advance of travel to Ireland that your treatment is fully covered by an appropriate insurance policy.
Question: I am seeing a psychiatrist and wish to continue my care when I go to study in Ireland. How can I arrange an appointment before I arrive?
Answer: We would recommend that you make an initial appointment with a GP, either in the Student Health Service or in the community.
Depending on your diagnosis and treatment plan the GP may be able to continue your treatment and prescribe medication themselves.
If there needs to be continued specialist supervision, the GP can refer either to our in-house consultant psychiatrist or local mental health services as appropriate. A summary of your diagnosis and treatment plan is very helpful in this situation. The waiting times to see a psychiatrist in Ireland varies, in SHS an appointment is usually issued within a two-month period, with priority given to urgent cases.
Treatment for ADHD /ADD is always under specialist supervision in Ireland and requires referral to a consultant psychiatrist.
Question : If I attend a doctor in UCD Student Health Service and I need to be referred to a hospital , what hospitals do UCD Student Health refer to most often ?
Answer: St. Vincent's Hospital is a teaching hospital and within the catchment area of UCD College campus and most of our students would be referred there for treatment. Here is some further information regarding charges at this hospital.
Useful links to St Vincent’s Hospital
Here is a further list of hospitals that the UCD Student Health Service would refer to …
Question : If I become unwell and I need to go to an accident and emergency department (ER room) what is the process and what charges will apply?
Answer: Everyone is eligible to attend the public hospital A&E departments in Ireland whether because of an accident or medical emergency.
There is a standard charge, currently €100 euro (2021) for all A&E(ER) attendances whether you are transferred by ambulance or attend yourself after an accident or in an emergency medical situation. If you have an initial assessment by a general practitioner and are referred to the A&E department with a letter the charge may be waived. In this situation you must show your referral letter to reception. Students who present a valid EHIC card will not need to pay. Depending on your level of insurance cover, you may be able to recoup some or all these expenses.
Question : Do I need a PPS Number to access Covid or General healthcare in Ireland?
Answer: It would be really helpful if you have a PPSN number and we would encourage all students to apply for one but if you are concerned that you may have symptoms of Covid 19 , please do not hesitate to contact Student Health on 01 716 3134 for a referral for a free Covid 19 test.
If you do not have a PPSN you can apply for one here using this form. Non-residents can find information here. When filling in the form you need to tick the reason for getting a PPS number. You should tick STUDY as your reason. You will be asked to provide a letter confirming you are a student - you can download your Certificate of Attendance via your UCD SIS Web account and provide this with your PPSN application. Further information on how to access your Certificate of Attendance is available on the Student Desk web-page.
The Personal Public Service Number or PPSN provides access to a number of services in Ireland. More information on this, can be found here.
Question: I am studying in UCD for less that 1year – Will different charges apply if I have to attend A&E (ER )?
Answer: Student from the European Union who have a valid EHIC card will not be charged. Non EU student may incur charges. Here are some links to A&E charges.
Links to charges for A&E (ER)
ALSO: Revised charges for A&E visits for Short Term Non-EEA students |
Question: What opportunity is there to avail of Chinese medicine TCM if I am going to UCD?
Answer: This form of treatment is not currently available in UCD Student Health Service. There are a number of TCM practitioners in Dublin which the student may research independently:
Link: Chinese Medicine
Question : I am a visiting international student – can I avail of UCD Student Health Services?
Answer: Visiting students on summer courses may avail of the UCD Student Health Service when there are appointments available. Fees apply and the service cannot accept EHIC cards in lieu of payment.
Students must be over the age of 17 to attend our service.
Students with EHIC cards may attend a local GP. Please see www.ehic.ie for further information and a list of participating doctors.
The consultation fee for visiting students is €50.
Question : How can I check if my medication is available in Ireland?
Most medications are available in Ireland and can be prescribed by a general practitioner within the student health service or a community GP. This should enable you to continue your treatment as necessary.
However, there are some exceptions as not all medications that are available in your own country are licensed for use here. It is very important to check this before you make the decision to travel. If your medication is not available in Ireland, you should have a discussion with your prescribing doctor before you travel. You may want to organise to bring your medication with you for the duration of your stay. You will need your original prescription and in some cases for restricted medications you will need a letter or medical certificate from your prescribing doctor explaining why you need this medication. It is essential that you bring a sufficient supply with you and you pack the medication in its original packaging in your hand luggage.
If your current medication is unlicensed in Ireland an alternative option may be offered by a general practitioner here in Ireland if it is clinically indicated.
If you cannot find the answers you need in our medications list or our FAQs, you can email the UCD Pharmacy at firstname.lastname@example.org to enquire about medication costs and availability.
Question: Can I avail of the Drugs Payment scheme to cover the costs of my medications?
Answer: Anyone who is ‘ordinarily resident’ in the Republic of Ireland can apply for the Drugs Payment Scheme. ‘Ordinarily resident’ means that you are living in Ireland and intend to live in Ireland for at least one year. However, eligibility is also based on the type of immigration stamp you hold. Most students from outside the EU/EEA hold a stamp 2 or 2A permission and cannot receive any benefits or use publicly funded services (e.g. public hospitals) unless you have an entitlement via other means. Please check your immigration stamp and the DPS website for further details.
We have highlighted some common medications below that fall into the hospital consultant only prescribed category in Ireland
- Roaccutane for the treatment of Acne
- Immune Modulators
This must be prescribed by a hospital consultant dermatologist and requires referral for supervision.
This group of drugs are used to treat complex medical conditions including but not limited to Multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. These drugs are hospital consultant prescribed and referral for hospital treatment will be necessary. If you have a significant medical condition such as one of these mentioned, it is essential that you discuss your condition with your own specialist including the implications of travelling abroad to study to ensure optimum care.
- Allergy injections
- Transgender medication
Allergy injections are only given in a hospital setting and require referral to an allergy hospital consultant.
They cannot be administered in the Student Health Service .
Medication for Gender Reassignment must be prescribed under hospital consultant endocrinologist supervision in Ireland.
Students requesting treatment in UCD are generally referred to the National Gender Service.
This is based at St Columcille's Hospital in Dublin and has a long waiting time for patients to be seen
If available, providing information regarding your previous diagnosis and treatment plan from your own treating physician may facilitate an earlier appointment. Please be aware that some treatments that may be used quite extensively abroad are unlicensed and therefore cannot be prescribed or administered in Ireland.
If possible, please bring sufficient medication from your home country to cover your stay in Ireland or to last until you have been seen by the National Gender service.
- Drugs used for treating ADD/ADHD.
- Xolair ( Omalizumab)
If you have a diagnosis of ADHD / ADD from a specialist abroad, please bring your documentation confirming the diagnosis and treatment plan from your treating physician with you to Ireland.
Treatment in Ireland must be under the supervision of a hospital consultant psychiatrist and so referral is necessary, particularly as some medications used abroad are un- licensed here. It may be some time before you are seen and so there is a potential for disruption of your regular treatment schedule.
If you are in UCD studying for a short period of time, it can be helpful to bring enough supply of medication from your home country to last until you return home.
Appointments for initial assessment and diagnosis of ADHD/ ADD are currently very limited.
Students taking Xolair (Omalizumab) may not be able to continue this treatment while here. It would be advisable that students complete their treatment in their home country before travelling to Ireland to start their studies.
Question : I need regular infusions for my medical condition. Can I continue these when I come to study in Ireland, can you advise?
Answer: We are not equipped here in the Student Health Service to deliver this type of treatment as it requires hospital supervision. Patients receive infusions for different medical reasons. An appointment will be needed with a specialist in the relevant clinical specialty to facilitate your treatment. Ideally, this should be set up well in advance of travel, particularly if the treatment required is scheduled soon after your arrival in Ireland.
These treatments are carried out in both the public and private hospitals. Patients who have not already made arrangements will be referred to either our local public or private hospital as requested. This may cause an unavoidable delay.
It is important for the student to confirm BEFORE TRAVEL that they have adequate health insurance cover for this specific treatment as not all insurance policies will provide adequate cover and the student may be exposed to significant costs.
Note: A treating doctor in the home country can contact their counterpart here in Dublin to facilitate the your ongoing treatment.