There are three different types of hospitals in Ireland
- Health Service Executive (HSE) hospitals: These are owned and funded by the HSE.
- Voluntary public hospitals: These receive most of their income from the State. Voluntary public hospitals are sometimes owned by private bodies, for example, religious orders. Other voluntary public hospitals are incorporated by charter or statute and are run by boards often appointed by the Minister for Health.
- Private hospitals, which receive no State funding.
The public health system is provided through HSE and Voluntary hospitals. Most of these hospitals also provide private medical services but they must be able to distinguish between public and private care.
Private hospitals operate independently of the State health services. If you choose to receive medical care in a private hospital, then you must pay for the cost of this medical care, either directly or through your health insurance.
In a public hospital you do not have to pay for consultants services, but you do not a choice of consultant.
If you choose to be a private patient in a public hospital then you become the private patient of the consultant treating you and you must pay for those services.
Private hospitals are free to set their own charges. Your health insurance may cover some or all of these costs.