Women and people with a uterus aged 17 to 25 can now get contraception for free in Ireland.
The announcement of free contraception came in last year’s budget and it was signed into law by President Michael D. Higgins in July. It was finally put into practice yesterday meaning, if you’re aged 17 to 25 and have a uterus you can now get all aspects of contraception from initial consults, to monthly prescription charges and everything else for free.
Here’s everything that you need to know about the new free contraception scheme in Ireland…
What costs are covered?
The costs covered include:
- GP or doctor’s appointments – to talk about contraception options and for repeat prescriptions when needed
- prescriptions given by your doctor – these will be given free of charge at participating pharmacies
- your choice of contraception – from the types covered below
- fittings and removals of implants and IUDs or IUSs (coils)
- any check-ups or other follow up care needed, relating to your implant or coil
- emergency contraception (morning after pill) *note* you do not need a prescription from a doctor for this. Go straight to your nearest pharmacy with your PPS number and they will give it to you directly.
Types of contraception covered
You can choose from a range of contraception options. These include short-acting contraceptives and long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs).
Short-acting contraceptives are types of contraception that depend on you remembering to take or use them regularly or each time you have sex.
These include the:
- progesterone only and combined contraceptive (the pill)
- contraceptive patch
- contraceptive ring
How to get free contraception
To access free contraception you need to be:
- a woman or person with a uterus
- aged between 17 to 25
- living in Ireland
You do not need a medical card to access this service.
Make an appointment with your GP to discuss your options for contraception. You do not have to pay for your GP visit or the prescriptions you get.
GPs have to opt into the service. So, check in advance of booking in with your GP that they are signed up. The service is new and there’s still a lot of work to do with it. It is hoped it will be rolled out to Universities and Colleges as well as healthcare centres. Pharmacists are also calling on the government to make the pill available directly from pharmacies bypassing the need for GP consolations.
What You Need
You will need to give your PPS number, name, date of birth and address at the GP and pharmacy. We need this to make sure that you are in the 17 to 25 age group covered by the free contraception service. Your privacy will be protected at all times.
It’s great that free contraception is finally being made available in Ireland, but we do hope to see the age bracket expanded once the scheme is up and running. Many people under the age of 17 need the Pill or an IUD to handle painfully medical issues such as endometriosis. And likewise people also over the age of 25 need access to healthcare. The cost of contraception has been put on women for too long.