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Shutterstock/zstock A consultation with a GP about coronavirus symptoms will remain free.
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Coronavirus GP consultations set to remain free, health minister confirms

It will remain free to call a GP about Covid-19 symptoms.

LAST UPDATE | Sep 1st 2020, 8:45 PM

COVID-19 GP CONSULTATIONS will remain free as part of the government’s measures to suppress the virus this winter, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has confirmed. 

It is currently free to call GPs for a Covid-19 consultation – although a recent survey suggested that nearly 50% of people didn’t know that it cost nothing for a consultation. 

“We know that early detection of Covid-19 cases is key in suppressing the disease in the community, even more so coming into winter, and so I’m glad this support will allow GPs to continue providing Covid-19 consultations free to their patients,” Donnelly said. 

“It’s very important that cost is not a barrier to anyone seeking testing, so I want to be clear that your telephone consultation with your GP to decide if you should be tested is free. The Covid-19 test as well as any hospital treatment you may need will also be free,” he said. 

The Department of Health and the HSE is currently embarking on a wider winter plan to ensure the health system isn’t overwhelmed in the coming months. Winter is usually the busiest time of year for GPs and hospitals. 

There are fears that a severe flu outbreak could add further pressure to Ireland’s fragile health system, which is already trying to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. 


An expanded flu vaccination programme is being rolled out by the government at an additional cost of €65 million. The Department of Health confirmed that the delivery of one flu vaccine is to be delayed by two weeks. 

The department said that it was a global problem and had been caused by an “administrative” delay. 

The delay has been described by the Irish Medical Organisation as “very concerning”. The body said that GPs across the country need to put additional plans and measures into place to administer vaccines this year and need certainty about supplies, dates and resources.

Everyone designated as being part of an at-risk group, including healthcare workers, will be able to access the vaccination free of charge. 

All children aged between two and 12 will also be able to access the vaccine without paying.

“The health service is entering a challenging winter period, in the midst of a global pandemic. It’s important that we make every effort collectively to limit the impact on the health service over the coming months,” Donnelly said.

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