Skip to main content

When to visit an injury unit

Injury units are available in some parts of the country. They treat injuries that are not life-threatening.

Injury units can treat:

  • broken bones
  • dislocations
  • sprains
  • strains
  • wounds
  • scalds
  • minor burns

Staff in injury units perform x-rays, reduce joint dislocations, apply plaster casts and treat wounds by stitches or other means.

If you need urgent medical attention, and you think life is at risk, you should call 999. 

You may be referred to an injury unit by your GP. You can also just turn up and walk in.

Ages injury units can treat

Most injury units treat patients over 5 years of age. Some injury units have higher age limits.

Check what age your local injury unit treats.

When to go to an emergency department

Injury units will not treat:

  • pregnancy-related or gynaecological problems
  • injuries to the chest, abdomen or pelvis
  • serious head and spine injuries

Each injury unit is linked to an emergency department (ED) in a hospital. If you are in an injury unit and need to be admitted to hospital, you will be referred directly to the linked hospital.

What injury units can treat

Adult patients

  • suspected broken bones to legs, from knees to toes
  • suspected broken bones to arms, from collarbone (clavicle) to fingertips
  • all sprains and strains
  • minor facial injuries (including oral, dental and nasal injuries)
  • minor scalds and burns
  • wounds, bites, cuts, grazes and scalp lacerations
  • small abscesses and boils
  • splinters and fish hooks
  • foreign bodies in eyes/ears/nose
  • minor head injury (fully-conscious patients, who did not experience loss of consciousness or have more than one episode of vomiting after the head injury)

Children aged 5 and older

  • suspected broken bones to legs, from knees to toes
  • suspected broken bones to arms, from collarbone (clavicle) to fingertips
  • any sprain or strain
  • minor facial injuries (including oral, dental and nasal injuries)
  • minor scalds and burns
  • wounds, bites, cuts, grazes and scalp lacerations
  • splinters and fish hooks
  • foreign bodies in eyes/ears/nose
  • minor head injury (fully-conscious children, who did not experience loss of consciousness or vomit after the head injury)

What injury units may not treat

Injury units will not treat any child younger than 5 years.

Adult patients

  • conditions due to medical illness, for example, fever, seizures, headache
  • suspected serious injury or inability to walk following a fall from a height or a motor vehicle collision. Patients with neck pain or back pain that started on the day of injury should attend an emergency department rather than an injury unit
    injury causing chest pain, abdominal pain or shortness of breath
  • serious head injury
  • chest pain
  • respiratory conditions
  • abdominal pain
  • gynaecological problems
  • neck/back pain
  • pregnancy-related conditions
  • pelvis or hip fractures
  • injuries due to self-harm

Children aged 5 and older

  • any child of any age with a medical illness, for example, fever, seizures, respiratory symptom
  • non-traumatic limp or non-use of a limb
  • injuries following a fall from a height or a motor vehicle collision
  • serious head injuries
  • abdominal pain
  • gynaecological problems
  • injuries due to self-harm
  • neck pain or back pain

Fees

You will pay €100 to attend an injury unit. This is the same cost as the emergency department (ED).

If you are referred from an injury unit to an ED, you will only pay this fee once.

There is no charge for:

  • patients with full medical cards
  • patients with valid medical or GP referral letter

Page last reviewed: 30/10/2018
Next review due: 30/10/2021