Mr Brian Cowen TD, Minister for Health and Children today announced that the Agreement on Medical Treatment for Temporary Visitors between Ireland and Australia which was signed in September 1997 between the governments of both countries has now taken effect.
Under the agreement Australian visitors to Ireland will receive emergency public hospital treatment subject to the small nominal charges which apply to persons ordinarily resident in Ireland who are non medical card holders. They will also be eligible for assistance towards the cost of prescribed drugs on the same basis as persons ordinarily resident in Ireland.
Similarly, Irish visitors to Australia will receive emergency services and assistance towards the cost of prescribed drugs and medicines on the same basis as persons ordinarily resident in Australia. Australia already has such agreements with a number of countries.
At present, visitors to Ireland from Australia are liable for the full economic cost of any treatment they receive. The position of Irish visitors to Australia is similar. For this reason the agreement will offer major benefits to the population of both countries.