Study In Britain & Ireland: Safety

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Health & Safety Abroad

Health and Safety Links:

Safety Handbook: Ireland
Safety Handbook: United Kingdom
Safety Issues
Health Issues
International Travel Safety Information for Students
Article: Health and Safety Issues in Study Abroad (NAFSA: Association of International Educators)

Road Safety:

Driving customs vary a great deal, and pedestrians are frequently not given the right of way. Find out which roads are safest and whether it is safe to travel on overnight trains and buses. Inquire about the safety record of various modes of transportation. Avoid renting a car unless you feel very comfortable with the driving habits of the locals. For more information on international road travel contact:

Association for Safe International Road Travel
5413 West Cedar Lane
Suite 103C
Bethesda, MD 20814
Tel: (301) 983-5252
Fax: (301) 983-3663

U.S. Department of State Sites:

Traveling Abroad Website
Americans Traveling Abroad
Living Abroad Tips
Studying Abroad

Where to get Medical Advice and Help:

Medical Services:
At some stage during your stay in Ireland, you may become ill. In this event, the following information might prove useful for basic advice and regulations governing access to publicly-funded health services. The Irish government's Department of Health and Children's website, www.doh.ie, has useful information on its activities. Health and personal social services are administered through eight health boards. These are regional authorities that administer central government spending on health and social services in their respective areas. More detailed information can be obtained from the individual health boards' sites (see below).

Emergency Treatment for illness and injury:
Emergency treatment is provided at general practitioner (GP) surgeries and at the accident and emergency (A & E) departments of hospitals.

Campus Health Services:
The major universities and institutes of technology have medical centres on campus, or arrangements with GPs based nearby. All registered students may use the health service provided by their institution, which offer generally free or subsidised consultations with a doctor and a nurse. You will have to pay for prescribed medicines.

Health Centres for Women and Men:
As with most European countries, Ireland has health centres which cater specifically for women's health. There is also one men's health centre in Dublin.

Chemists stock a wide range of non-prescription medicines and the chemist can advise you on which is the most suitable for your complaint or on whether or not you need to consult a doctor.

Food Safety and Health:
Good health is complemented by good hygiene practices. Food safety and hygiene have become very important issues in recent times. In addition, to your regular kitchen hygiene routine, cleanliness in food preparation must also be considered, especially with perishable foods such as meat.

There are two sources of advice for food safety and hygiene in the home. The Department of Health and Children (www.doh.ie) on food safety contains useful information on hygiene in the kitchen and some relevant links. A more comprehensive website is that of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (www.fsai.ie) dealing with both consumer and retail aspects of health and hygiene with regard to food.

Source: International Education Board Ireland http://www.educationireland.ie/

Regulations Governing the Use of Irish Health Services:

Medical Service Regulations for EU / EEA students:
Under EU / EEA regulations students from other member states who are attending a course of study are entitled to medical services in Ireland. In order to be eligible for any of these services, you will be required to provide the Irish health authorities with documentation from your home country that validates your entitlement. You should therefore contact the Health Authority in your home country, well in advance of travelling to Ireland, to fulfil any registration requirements and to obtain the necessary forms that you will need.

(Please note that you will normally have to pay for all optical and dental services in Ireland. With regard to hospital services, if you have not obtained the necessary documentation entitling you to free or minimum-cost services, costs can be as much as 380 per day.)

Medical Service Regulations for non-EU / non-EEA students:
Your eligibility for public health services depends on your country of origin, the duration of your stay in Ireland and your financial situation.

With regard to hospitalisation for non-EU / non-EEA students. If you are undertaking a full time course of study for at least one year, you are classed as "ordinarily resident" in Ireland, and are then entitled to public patient facilities on the same basis as an EU / EEA national. To make further enquiries, go to www.doh.ie.

Health Board websites:
You may wish to visit the website for the appropriate health board / authority

Eastern Regional Health Authority
North Western Health Board
North Eastern Health Board
South Eastern Health Board
Mid-Western Health Board
Southern Health Board
Midland Health Board
Western Health Board

Note: The Eastern Regional Health Authority consists of three health board areas; the east coast area health board, the northern area health board, and; the south western area health board. More details are available from its website.

Private Medical and Health Insurance:
If you are attending a course of study for a period of less than one academic year and are not "ordinarily resident", private medical insurance is essential.

If you are "ordinarily resident" in Ireland and therefore have access to public health facilities, you may want to consider private medical insurance to complement your entitlements. Depending on the scheme subscribed to, you would gain entitlements, for example, to a private room, a broader range of consultants and a larger variety of hospitals.

If you have an existing health insurance policy in your home country, you may want to make enquiries about the possibility of extending the policy to cover your period of study in Ireland. It is advisable that you do this well in advance of travel.

The following companies offer private health insurance in Ireland and you may wish to enquire about their policies:

Voluntary Health Insurance (VHI)
VHI House
Lower Abbey Street
Dublin 1
Telephone: +353-1-8724499 / 1850 444 444
Website: www.vhi.ie

BUPA Ireland
Mill Island
Co. Cork
Telephone: +353-21-42121
Fax: +353-21-42122
Website: www.bupa.ie


12 Fitzwilliam Square
Dublin 2
Telephone: +353-1-6627662
Locall - 1890 700890

Note: There is often a 26 week delay period before a policy comes into effect. However, you are covered for accidents and injuries during this time. You should contact the International Office at your university/institute of technology to ask about medical insurance packages that may be on offer.

Source: International Education Board Ireland http://www.educationireland.ie/