When to visit an injury unit

Injury units treat injuries that are not life-threatening. For example, broken bones, dislocations and burns.

You do not need an appointment.

You may be referred to an injury unit by your GP or sent to one from an emergency department (ED). If you have a referral, you do not have to pay a fee.

Immediate action required: Call 112 or 999 for an ambulance if:

you need urgent medical attention

When to go to an emergency department

Go to an ED urgently instead of an injury unit for:

  • anything pregnancy-related
  • injuries to the chest, tummy (abdomen) or pelvis
  • serious head and spine injuries

If you are in an injury unit and need to go to an ED, you will be referred directly from the injury unit.

What injury units can treat

Injury units can treat:

  • broken bones to legs, from knees to toes
  • 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 (cuts)
  • small abscesses and boils
  • splinters and fish hooks
  • things suck in eyes, ears or nose
  • minor head injuries (fully-conscious patients, who did not have loss of consciousness or vomit after the head injury)

What injury units may not treat

Adults

Injury units may not treat:

  • conditions due to medical illness - for example, fever, seizures, headache
  • injury causing chest pain, abdominal pain or shortness of breath
  • serious head injury
  • chest pain
  • respiratory conditions
  • abdominal (stomach) pain
  • gynaecological problems
  • neck or back pain
  • pregnancy-related conditions
  • pelvis or hip fractures
  • injuries due to self-harm
  • suspected serious injury after an accident
  • not being able to walk following a fall from a height or a motor vehicle crash

In these cases, you should attend your nearest emergency department rather than an injury unit.

Children aged 5 and older

Injury units may not treat:

  • 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 crash
  • serious head injuries
  • abdominal (stomach) pain
  • gynaecological problems
  • injuries due to self-harm
  • neck pain or back pain

In these cases, you should bring your child to your nearest emergency department that sees children rather than an injury unit.

Ages injury units can treat

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

Most injury units will not treat any child younger than 5 years.

Check what age your local injury unit treats

How much it costs

There is a €75 charge to attend an injury unit.

If you are referred from an injury unit to an ED, you will not have to pay another fee.

There is no charge for patients with a:

Page last reviewed: 19 October 2022
Next review due: 19 October 2025