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Parenting & Education in Ireland

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School Health Services in Primary Schools

    Since 1st January 2005, all health boards in Ireland were abolished. The Health Service Executive (HSE) Areas have assumed responsibility for former health boards services including school health services. HSE Areas are obliged to provide dental aural and optical services to:
    • medical card holders and their dependants
    • pre-school children and school children attending state primary schools referred from child health service and school health service examinations.

    While there is some variation between HSE Areas, in general the level of service and type of service available for school going children under 16 years of age who attend state primary schools are set out below. Private primary schools may request the service and the HSE Area has the discretion to extend the service to these schools.


    Services are provided in HSE clinics and in primary schools. The HSE Area decides whether treatment will be by one of its dentists or by a private practitioner. If treated by a private practitioner, you can choose from the list of dentists who have agreements with the HSE Area to provide service.

    Aural & Optical

    School health screenings are conducted by public health nurses and area medical officers who are employed by the HSE Areas. These screenings are carried out on the school premises and the school principal is told of the date of the screenings in advance so that parents can be notified and are entitled to be present if they wish. Children’s hearing and vision are examined and where requested by the parent, or deemed necessary, a physical examination may be carried out.

    Children who are discovered to have hearing or optical problems are referred to the appropriate consultant for treatment. Problems that are identified at these screens are treated free of charge if the child attends as a public patient at an out-patient hospital department. Any subsequent treatment (whether out-patient or in-patient) arising from this initial referral is free of charge as a public patient.

    Vaccinations under the Childhood Immunisation Programme are provided free of charge to all children either through your GP or for children of school going age they may be administered in schools by the HSE. Parental consent is required for the administration of vaccinations to children and young people up to the age of 16. Where vaccinations are being administered in schools, parents will receive forms requesting their consent. They will also usually be advised of the date of the vaccinations and may have the option of being present with the child if they wish.

Immunisation Schedule

    Birth – 1 monthBCG
    2 months
    Repeated at 4 months & 6 months
    (5 in 1) Diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio and HiB plus separate injection for Meningitis C
    12-15 monthsMMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and HiB if child over 13 months and has had no previous HiB vaccine
    4 – 5 years(4 in 1) Diptheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio and MMR booster
    11 – 12 yearsMMR (in cases where 2 previous doses have not been given)
    10 – 14 yearsBCG for those who are known to be tuberculin negative and have had no previous BCG
    11 – 14 yearsTetanus and low dose diphtheria

    Source Irish Government Website, Oasis -