The cost of attending one of the 11 minor injury units has been reduced from €100 to €75 from today, after Minister for Health Simon Harris signed a statutory instrument implementing the change.
The move is designed to encourage people seeking medical treatment to go to minor injury units rather than hospital emergency departments, where the charge for non medical card-holders remains €100. It was first suggested by Independent TD Denis Naughten in the Dáil as a way of relieving overcrowding in emergency departments.
There are 11 Injury Units across the country in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Dundalk, Ennis, Mallow, Bantry, Nenagh, Monaghan and Roscommon. They treat a range of injuries in adults and children such as broken bones, dislocations, sprain and strains, minor burns and scalds. All units have access to x-ray and basic diagnostic services.
“Instead of going to the emergency dDepartment where patients with non-serious and non-life threatening injuries may endure long waiting times, Injury Units are a much more practical and faster alternative for many minor injuries,” Mr Harris said.
The HSE says the average time it takes to complete treatment in an injury unit is two hours.
For children, the new Children’s Health Ireland urgent care centre at Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown provides treatment of minor injury and illness, including fractures, sprains, minor burns, small cuts and illnesses such as vomiting, diarrhoea and mild asthma.
However, due to staff recruitment issues, its opening hours are limited to between 10am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.